A team of Danish researchers conducted a study to identify ways through which members of a group can improve their productivity when working towards a clearly identifiable goal.
"Our study focused on how to improve levels of cooperation. What we found was that when people know exactly what they're supposed to be doing as members of a team, they are more willing to trust each other and cooperate more in the future," Panos Mitkidis, a post-doc scholar at Aarhus University, Denmark, said.
He suggests that levels of cooperation improve when we know exactly what our goals are - instead of just following a process without really knowing where we are going.
The study provides a clue about how science can help us to become more cooperative and productive by switching the focus to goals instead of focusing on processes.
Successful cooperation depends on knowing more than just the rules and processes in which we are involved.
"Knowing exactly what our goals are actually appears to increase our perception of cooperation, trust and shared expectations. In fact, the study showed that when the people involved could see the end product they felt they were sharing a collective goal and were therefore more willing to trust and cooperate with their colleagues," Mitkidis said.
In a world where productivity is at the centre of discussion, the study provides a clue about how science can help us to be more productive.
The study provides insight for managers in the worlds of business and administration, where cooperation and productivity are always important.
The study is published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.