Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Cooperate and Graduate"

One of the topics discussed in Chapter 11 was how cooperation is encouraged within teams, but members still feel pressured to compete for higher positions or recognition within companies. Combating such competition between employees is certainly a predicament. From a young age, students learn to compete with others. Tests are designed sometimes so that the person with the highest grade automatically gets bumped up to 100% and then everyone else's grades revolve around that one. This means that students help eachother study for exams so that they all get around the same grade and all do well... or at least relatively well since those helping others in their study group understand the concepts risk their own grades because they spend unneccessary time helping their competition while they could be focusing on their own understanding and spending time perfecting their knowledge of the subject matter. If one students does well, while all the others perform poorly, then the majority's grades are not altered enough for them to pass. This is somewhat unfair, as it would indicated that the majority did not understand the concepts being taught and the teacher needs to focus on their needs, instead of categorizing them as 'failing'.

In the article I read, a former Kellogg student (monetarily supported by Kellog Corporation and then employeed by Kellogg) discussed how the students in the program worked. All were encouraged to be supportive of one another and cooperate well with eachother (in other words, follow the kellogg way of business so that they would be able to successfully integrate into the company upon graduation). However, there were only a few really good jobs available for them and so only a couple of students would be placed in their first choice job upon graduation. This led to competitiveness between them despite all the 'cooperation' talk. Competition is natural it seems and can not be avoided. However, there are ways around it. The author goes onto explain, "One of my close friends came to Kellogg with a mantra that he learned at West Point: Cooperate and graduate. It certainly shows. We spent literally dozens of hours helping each other prepare for our tests this quarter. Even though we were "aiding the competition," together I believe we were stronger students than we would've been as individuals." Even though it could damage one's chances of success, helping others in one's team makes everyone better people and leaves one feeling fulfilled.

Cornuke, Brandon. "Competition and Cooperation." BusinessWeek Online (2009): 5. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 19 Mar. 2010.

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