Competition or collaboration?

The question in the title has a different echo within a company than competition between market players. Yet, we often see logistics and sourcing as well as controlling and finance getting into conflicts within the company. However, in most cases, the conflicts are not due to professional, but personal issues.

But is this really always the case? It might be different if we take a closer look at the situation and also ‘list’ whether younger or older, male or female go straight at each other’s throats between the cosy walls of a meeting room. People want to pursue their own goals, and for this reason they often do not hesitate to present these as the basis of achieving higher goals. The competition within a company for owning respect is extremely exciting, thus it is much more complex and difficult to quantify than resources.

Respect evolved in an evolutionary sense to the older, the stronger, the men. What will we do with this heritage in 2020? In intra-corporate conflicts, in most cases, participants are not judging the situation or process, but the other person – it is a real fight! When someone attacks the other person instead of their budget … Is he or she compensating? Or do they just want to be tough? It does not matter, since it is the aggressive behaviour itself that has become an automatic reaction. As Peter Müller wrote: “We expect strength from women, preferably without even noticing. Gently, smartly, cunningly, tactfully give us power – without hurting our pride and superior consciousness. That’s how we live, unfortunately.”

Márta Fülöp, a social psychologist, classifies rivals into the balanced, result-oriented and hypercompetitive, aggressive types. This type of standardization is also important when we look at group competition, which is much sharper than individual competition, and reflects a lot of the attitude of their leaders – who are mostly men… In many cases, those who do not mind being polarized by the communication in the situation, split the group, because they count on the increase in commitment, as the common enemy image will increase cohesion. Not to mention that it is easy to get the community involved in the intense struggle, because the group hides individual, personal responsibilities.

But why is this all necessary? There are many possible answers, but there is just one thing worth considering: because this is how we grew up; thus, we feel comfortable and safe. From the late twentieth century to the last few years, we believed competition was effective, efficient and effective. We believe that competition is the only path to victory, to show strength, and to represent masculinity corporate. While all of this involves tension and mistrust, which block efficiency in the short and long term, it is covered by the haze of division, as well as the fact that a divisional benefit at the end of the day is less of a business benefit than a common result.

Is there a solution? Not only does the commitment to reciprocity increase trust and empathy – and so increases the company’s self-awareness – it can also create a clearing system where participants jointly take risks (and reduce costs!). It does matter if we are fighting or competing against each other.

Györgyi Kristóf