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Why employee rankings are hurting your team

'Ranking feedback drives even experienced managers to act competitively'

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Performance feedback is a double-edged sword: it can spark cooperation or competition between employees. How do different types of feedback influence relations at work?

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the IESE Business School in Barcelona attempted to find out in a laboratory experiment involving managers and students.

Group vs individual gains
A total of 140 participants were grouped into teams of four and asked to ‘invest’ their points in their group project and, subsequently, their individual projects.

Cooperative behaviour was rewarded in two different scenarios. In the first instance, cooperation between teammates was designed to yield a high score for the group but lower scores for the individuals. In the second scenario, cooperation led to good scores for both the team and individual players.

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