Meeting the challenge of workplace change: Team cooperation outperforms team competition

Chen Yue, Patrick S.W. Fong, Teng Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We examined the influence of reward structures on team adaptation. We collected data from Chinese university students, whom we assigned to 62 teams of 3 members. They took part in a team-based card game in a laboratory setting to test if a cooperative structure promotes team adaptation by facilitating shared mental model updating, and if a competitive structure harms team adaptation by preventing shared mental model updating. This proposition was supported by the results of the between-group factorial design experiment: The efficiency of the shared mental model was lost when predicting team performance in an uncertain environment. Teams with a cooperative structure outperformed teams with a competitive structure in the task changes, and this effect was mediated by shared mental model updating. Thus, team managers should adopt a cooperative-based structure in an uncertain environment to achieve team adaptation, as well as training team members to understand the changed situation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere7997
JournalSocial Behavior and Personality
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Reward structures
  • Shared mental model
  • Shared mental model updating
  • Team adaptation
  • Team competitive structure
  • Team cooperative structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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