Purpose – The article demonstrates that co-operation is a vital behavioural skill that should be developed in educational systems, particularly business and management programs, because it is an intangible factor that boosts productive output.Design/methodology/approach – The article explains why cooperation is an important intangible factor for organizations and the larger economy. It recommends the development of educational designs to remediate the pedagogical lack of focus on the cooperative disposition. Findings – Co-operation is contingent on trust – an indispensable factor to engage in distant relations, accept rule of law across nations, and confer in intermediaries the authority to arbitrate unresolved differences between organizations. In other words, without cooperation, people within organizations commit themselves to parochial concerns, inhibiting efforts to combine resources towards a collective goal. The lack of a cooperative attitude is not destiny – it can be forged through careful educational designs and organizational strategy.
Research limitations/implications – There is little empirical data available to measure co-operation in a diverse environment and co-operation is an intangible concept that is difficult to pin to specific organizational habits. The concepts developed here based on broad social science data would do will to be tested in an empirical framework at the micro level.Practical implications – Low co-operation arises in an environment which does not foster trust. Management might inadvertently reward low organizational capacity by not evaluating cooperation and monitoring narcissism. Recruiters need to adapt recruitment strategies that pinpoint individuals capable of managing the specific cooperation needs of situational organizations, especially in diverse situations. A successful managerial education program will target training that optimizes thoughtful and sustainable co-operation.Originality/value – Formal management training to instill a thoughtful sense of co-operation would complement the current emphasis on teamwork and leadership. Without the moral and methodological goal of being co-operative for the greater good, organizations waste human resources and fail to reap benefits from collective productions.
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