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2019 International Association for Conflict Management Conference

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Competition and Aggressive Behavior: Contextual and Perceptual Predictors of Competitive and Cooperative Decision-Making

Keywords: competition, aggression, cooperation, incentives, trash-talking

Abstract: This symposium explores how features of competitive contexts determine whether people behave cooperatively or aggressively. In a series of four papers, we delve into features of decision-making contexts (e.g., incentives and leadership) and of individual cognition (e.g., perceptions of workplace hierarchies) that determine intra- and inter-group conduct. First, Böhm, Halevy, and Kugler find that choice architecture influences the decision to engage in competitive behavior, and when peaceful actions are presented as the default, rates of aggressive action fall significantly. Second, Kirgios, Skowronek, and Schweitzer show that when choosing teams under mixed competitive and cooperative incentives, they demonstrate a cooperation bias. Third, Yu, Greer, Halevy, and van Bunderen show that perceptions of workplace hierarchies as ladder shaped rather than pyramid shaped worsen intragroup relationships and group success. Finally, Yip, Schweitzer, and Halevy find that leader trash talk leads to intragroup organizational citizenship behaviors and increased group identification.

Erika Kirgios, The Wharton School

Sam Skowronek, The Wharton School

Maurice Schweitzer, The Wharton School

Lindred Greer, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Siyu Yu, NYU Stern

Nir Halevy, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Jeremy Yip, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

Lisanne van Bunderen, University of Amsterdam

Robert Böhm, School of Business and Economics, RWTH Aachen University

Tamar Kugler, Eller College of Management, University of Arizona


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