Competition, Cooperation and Decision Making Process

group hand fist bump
Photo by on


The article “Competition and Cooperation: The Wisdom to Know When” is written by Roberta Wiig Berg, associate professor at the Norwegian School of Management. Talking about the competition and cooperation, there is always the hypothesis and the experiment to prove this topic– in this article also mention the test called “Red-Blue Exercise”. It focuses on raising the participants awareness of the present state of mind and to realize how they act upon their interpretation. (176, Roberta)

The author’s argument states that “both competition and cooperation are necessary in business as they are in other aspects of lives”.  Competition and Cooperation seems to be always attached together since these words, speaking of meaning and sense of language, is almost the same but difference in the result and emotion. Red-Blue exercise demonstrates the factor of competition and cooperation by dividing participants into two groups, A and B, and let them decide the colour between red and blue. If every participants in the team choose the same colour, that team gains +3 points. According to this article, people who has background dilemma (prisoner, in this article) tends to choose red colour than blue one. This rule slightly embedded the participant the ideas of ‘winning and losing’ when it comes to the mark and team. Speaking of factors in this exercise, there are various factors that are used to determine the test like Fair Play, equally and fairly treat among the participants; discrimination in this test led to conflict and non-cooperate in the group, moreover, injustice can also lead to the competition and conflict within participants. Another factor is ‘Trust’ which shows only when the participants involved with each other in the form of a relationship (friend, family or lover). From round 5 onwards, we see the different from the first couple rounds, people tend to communicate and ask for other’s opinion (in this part, I, personally, think that cooperation is implied in this behavior) on seeking to gain ‘victory’ or ‘to win’ the rival. Nonetheless, all human-beings compete with each other only when we are taught or embedded (“programmed”) to do so. We, as a human, want to be more cooperative among the group, but what holds us back is the ‘natural instinct’ of human behavior and, from time to time, we tend to make the ‘wrong’ decision or act inappropriately when the situation is pushed to ‘competition’ more than cooperation where people can discuss and assist one another.

From my perspective, the author’s narrative method is easy to follow, well-organized and straightforward– how the author divided the factors into many parts (Fair play and its description etc.) Specific vocabularies and ideas definition are well stated in an easy way. It also makes more sense when every dialogue combined together with the support ideas that help readers to understand the article and the result better. Overall, It reflects the society in terms of competition and cooperation in a nutshell and shows that decision making is based on so many things but people tend to make ‘mistake’ when they are under-pressured. I also realised that competition could bring people into a conflict and misunderstanding, meanwhile, co-operation brings to harmony and understanding. 


#P04 #ASTU #competition #cooperation




  1. Thank you for this nice essay! According to your own argument, are you suggesting that human instinct is naturally evil and favors competition? If it’s like that, how would you explain Bateson’s argument about “endosymbiosis”?


  2. Hi! Thanks for your reading response.
    Your writing clearly shows the relationship between competition and cooperation in Berg’s specific framing and also in reality. You also said that cooperation brings harmony and understanding in the conclusion, but what do you feel about the situation that people are eager or prefer to compete with their rivals, even in cooperation, like Team A will betray Team B after their agreement in round 5 to 8?


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s