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07-26-2010, 01:26 AM
"People work more productively in teams than individually. Teamwork requires cooperation, which motivates people much more than individual competition does."

Cooperation helps the entire team get wanted information and capability easily. And it provides a big social support system for every member in the group which gives them encouragement and help from others when encounter challenges. On the other hand, individual competition motivates each person to work harder. However, whether working in teams is more productive is actually determined by at least two factors--- the nature of work and quality of cooperation. Without thinking about these factors, any conclusion may be misleading.
Firstly, the nature of work decides our work patterns. Some jobs entail only one person to work. For example, on production lines, each worker is asked to finish his/her own share only, and would be rewarded by doing better than others. At the same time, having been told how to do their part, these workers do not need to ask others for help as well. Therefore, individual competition is more effective in motivating if the job underscores personal contributions.
Moreover, some work that requires high level of independent thinking can be more productively finished by a person. For instance, creating artistic works is the work that emphasizes originality. Artists who prefer to keep their uniqueness usually work alone. This is because any other opinions may destroy their inspiration or change their original thoughts. On the other hand, their personal feelings and sparkling ideas would help them find their uniqueness and bring them success. For those mavericks creators, working in group may ruin their career.
In addition, any teamwork is based on the precondition that the most of team members agree with the final decision. However, as for time-limited work, long-time group discussion and arguments always make people lose the opportunities to succeed. Let’s take broker for example. “Time is money” is the mostly exact description of brokers’ work. They have to work under so intense atmosphere that every second could determine their success and lost in trade. However, if the aim of their teams is to reach an agreement on how to react to the changes in the market, they would miss the best chance for benefits during their endless argument. So, teamwork is more likely to reduce the productivity of a profession that needs to make quick decisions.
Although cooperation is not suitable for the work requiring personal contribution, independent thinking and quick decision, when it comes to a complex assign, it is difficult for individuals to work on his own. Since time and energy is limited, no one can assume the work that must be done by the many. It is hard to imagine what a government which only one officer works for would be like. To make sure such a huge organization functions well, people have to break the whole work into parts distributed to each person and then establish a cooperation system to let the whole be accomplished.
Secondly, the quality of teamwork also plays an important role in productivity of work. An effective group is based on the cooperation of its members. However, people have different perspectives and personalities, which may lead them to divergence. Once, my professor asked my group to do a presentation yet we trapped in deadlock at beginning. No one was willing to accept others’ ideas and several members wanted to quit for they thought their partners did not respect them enough and then our work delayed for a long time. For poor communication of group, agreement is hard to make. Thus, the productivity could be reduced by teamwork with conflicts caused by different opinions and personalities.
What’s more, an effective leadership and sensible regulations are necessary to ensure a high productivity. Only when personal aims keep pace with organizational ones, employees would do their best at work. Therefore, a successful leader should be good at tell subordinates’ needs and establish an encouragement system to motivate them. Furthermore, the rights and duty of every position should be clear. Without these things, an organization or a group is deemed to be unproductive. Individual competitiveness and ambition are essential motivating forces for certain types of jobs, while in other jobs it is a common sense of mission that motivates workers to achieve maximum productivity. However, the overall productivity of almost every organization depends ultimately on the ability of its members to cooperate as a team.
In conclusion, whether cooperation is more productive than individual competition depends on many factors such as the nature of work and the quality of teamwork.

08-23-2010, 12:24 PM
It is really my honor to leave some words here, since I am really energized and inspired by your essay. Based on a delicate structure, the issue is well organized in construing that without knowing what kind of work is actually under discussion, any conclusion can be too presumptuous to get through.
I do agree that the NATURE of work is decisive in drawing a conclusion, as is shown in your issue. And this must be the key point in analyze this topic. I still remember when I wrote this issue days ago, I overemphasized on managing to shine my point at the expense of establishing a well-structured classification, which I enjoyed the most after reading your issue essay.
Anyway, thank u for sharing with us such a nice essay. I really like it.