The Role of Conditional Cooperation in Organizing Change

Establishing Cooperation Norms and Practices as Change Enablers
  • Nadine FinkbeinerEmail author
  • Michèle Morner


Change initiatives have the tendency to fail in organizations because the employee’s central role in the process of change is disregarded. With the focus on the individual in corporate change, management has to create an environment which encourages change in organizations. In this work we recommend cooperation as being one important change enabler in a way that cooperation positively supports and increases employees’ participation in change initiatives. We thus show how the conditions can be designed to support employees’ cooperation during their change processes – even if the cooperation is against the employee’s benefit. Besides a human actor in business who cooperates in change initiatives in the case of colleague's cooperation (conditional cooperation), we refer to the importance of cooperation norms in order to establish cooperation supportive conditions. We conclude by emphasizing how these cooperation norms can create stability in the long-run through cooperation rules and opportunities for participation as important structural components for change.


Change Process Organizational Change Cooperative Behavior Individual Employee Change Initiative 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Agboola, A. A., & Salawu, R. O. (2011). Managing deviant behavior and resistance to change. International Journal of Business and Management, 6(1), 235–242.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Argyris, C., & Schön, D. (1978). Organizational learning. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Armenakis, A. A., & Harris, S. G. (2002). Crafting a change message to create transformational readiness. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 15(2), 169–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Armenakis, A. A., & Harris, S. G. (2009). Reflections: Our journey in organizational change research and practice. Journal of Change Management, 9(2), 127–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Armenakis, A. A., Bedeian, A., & Niebuhr, R. (1979). Planning for organizational intervention: The importance of existing socio-psychological situations in organizational diagnosis. Group & Organization Studies, 4(1), 59–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Armenakis, A. A., Harris, S. G., & Mossholder, K. W. (1993). Creating readiness for organizational change. Human Relations, 46(6), 681–703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Armenakis, A. A., Harris, S. G., & Feild, H. S. (1999). Making change permanent: A model for institutionalizing change. In W. Pasmore & R. Woodman (Eds.), Research in organization change and development, vol. XII (pp. 97–128). Greenwich: JAI.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Arrow, K. J. (1974). The limits of organization. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Balogun, J., & Hope Hailey, V. (2004). Exploring strategic change (2nd edn.). London: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Battilana, J., & Casciaro, T. (2013). The network secrets of great change agents. Harvard Business Review, July-August, 91, 62–68.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Beck, N., Bruderl, J., & Woywode, M. (2008). Momentum or deceleration? Theoretical and methodological reflections on the analysis of organizational change. Academy of Management Journal, 51, 413–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Beer, M., Eisenstat, R. A., & Spector, B. (1990). Why change programs don’t produce change. Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec, 68, 158–166.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bekmeier-Feuerhahn, S. (2009). Mechanisms of teleological change. Management Review, 20(2), 126–127.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Birkinshaw, J., & Pedersen, T. (2009). Strategy and management in MNE subsidiaries. In A. M. Rugman & T. Brewer T (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of international business (2nd edn., pp. 367–387). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bohnet, I., & Zeckhauser, R. (2004). Social comparisons in ultimatum bargaining. Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 106(3), 495–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Carr, D. K., Hard, H. J., & Trahant, W. J. (1996). Managing the change process: A field book for change agents, consultants, team leaders, and reengineering managers. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Coch, L., & French, J. R. P. (1948). Overcoming resistance to change. Human Relations, 1, 512–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Cole, M., Harris, S. G., & Bernerth, J. (2006). Exploring the implications of vision, appropriatedness, and execution of organizational change. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 27(5), 352–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Crémer, J. (1993). Corporate culture and shared knowledge. Industrial and Corporate Change, 2, 351–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Crossan, M. M., Lane, H. W., & White, R. E. (1999). An organizational learning framework: From intuition to institution. Academy of Management Review, 24(3), 522–537.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Dawes, R. M., van de Kragt, A. J. C., & Orbell, J. M. (1988). Not me or thee but we: The importance of group identity in eliciting cooperating in dilemma situations-Experimental manipulation. Acta Psychologica, 68, 83–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Deutsch, M. (1969). Conflicts: Constructive and destructive. Journal of Social Issues, 25(1), 7–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Deutsch, M. (1975). Equity, equality, and need: What determines which value will be used as the basis of distributive justice. Journal of Social Issues, 31, 137–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Elger, C. E. (2008). Neuroleadership: Erkenntnisse der Hirnforschung für die Fführung von Mitarbeitern, (1. Aufl.). Hamburg: Haufe-Lexware.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Falk, A., Fehr, E., & Fischbacher, U. (2003). On the nature of fair behavior. Economic Inquiry, 41(1), 20–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Fehr, E., & Gächter, S. (2000). Fairness and retaliation: The economics of reciprocity. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14(3), 159–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Fehr, E., & Schmidt, K. M. (2001). Theories of fairness and reciprocity. Munich Discussion Paper 2001-2, Volkswirtschaftliche Fakultät, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Fischbacher, U., Gächter, S., & Fehr, E. (2001). Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment. Economic Letters, 71(3), 397–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Floyd, S.W., & Lane, P.J. (2000). Strategizing throughout the organization: Managing role conflict in strategic renewal. Academy of Management Journal, 25, 154–177.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Forde, C., Slater, G., & Spencer, D. A. (2006). It’s the taking part that counts? Participation, performance and external labour market conditions. Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, 61(2), 296–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Frey, B. S., & Benz, M. (2007). Die psychologischen Grundlagen des Marktmodells (homo oeco-nomicus). In L. von Rosenstiel & D. Frey (Eds.), Marktpsychologie. Enzyklopädie der Psychologie, Bd 5 (pp. 1–26). Göttingen: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Frey, B. S., & Meier, S. (2004). Social comparisons and pro-social behavior: Testing “conditional cooperation” in a field experiment. American Economic Review, 94(5), 1717–1722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Frey, B. S., & Osterloh, M. (2002). Managing motivation: Wie Sie die neue Motivationsforschung für Ihr Unternehmen nutzen können (2. Aufl). Wiesbaden: Gabler.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Gouldner, A. W. (1960). The norm of reciprocity: A preliminary statement. American Sociological Review, 25(2), 161–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Gouldner, A. W., & Gouldner, H. P. (1963). Modern sociology-An introduction to the study of human interaction, harcourt, brace & world. New York: Burlingame.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Kanter, R. (1983). The change masters: Innovation for productivity in the American corporation. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Keicher, I. (2013). Change im change? Warum das Change Management jetzt mutiger warden muss. Organisationsentwicklung, 13(1), 53–56.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Kollock, P. (1998). Social dilemmas: The anatomy of cooperation. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 183–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Kotter, J. (1996). Leading change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kotter, J. P., & Cohen, D. S. (2002). The heart of change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Kurzban, R., et al. (2001). Incremental commitment and reciprocity in a real-time public goods game. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27(12), 1662–1673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Lehman, K., & Linsky, M. (2008). Using conflict as a catalyst for change-Organizational transformation can elicit intense conflict. Here’s how to harness it as a positive force. Harvard Management Update, April, 3–5.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Lewin, K. (1958). Group decision and social change. In E. E. Maccoby, et al. (Eds.), Readings in social psychology (pp. 197–211). New York: Hartley, Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Lewin, K. (1999). Experiments in social space (1939). Reflections, 1(1), 7–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Lines, R., Sáenz, J., & Arramburu, N. (2011). Organizational learning as a byproduct of justifications for change. Journal of Change Management, 11(2), 163–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Long, C. P., Bendersky, C., & Morrill, C. (2011). Fairness monitoring: Linking managerial controls and fairness judgements in organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 54(5), 1045–1068.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Meifert, M. T., & Kesting, M. (2004). Gesundheitsmanagemen-tein unternehmerisches Thema? In M. T. Meifert & M. Kesting (Eds.), Gesundheitsmanagemnet im Unternehmen (pp. 3–13). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Messick, D. M. (1999). Alternative logics for decision making in social settings. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 39(1), 11–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Messick, D. M., & Brewer, M. B. (1983). Solving social dilemmas. In L. Wheeler & P. Shaver (Eds.), Review of personality and social psychology, 4 (pp. 11–44). Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Mohr, R. D., & Zoghi, C. (2008). High-involvement work design and job satisfaction. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 68(3), 275–296.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Monin, P., Noorderhaven, N., Vaara, E., & Kroon, D. (2013). Giving sense to and making sense of justice in postmerger integration. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), 256–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Morner, M., & Wälder, N. (2013). Auf dem Weg zu einem kooperativen Menschenbild: Überlegungen zur Organisation der Kooperation. Zeitschrift für Wirtschaft und Unternehmensethik, 14(2), 178–194.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Mudambi, R., & Swift, T. (2012). Multinational enterprises and the geographical clustering of innovation. Industry & Innovation, 19(1), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Nielsen, B. B. (2005). The role of knowledge embeddedness in the creation of synergies in strategic alliances. Journal of Business Research, 58, 1194–1204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Nielsen, B. B. (2010). Strategic fit, contractual, and procedural governance in alliances. Journal of Business Research, 63, 682–689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Nooteboom, B. (2000). Learning by interaction: Absorptive capacity, cognitive distance and governance. Journal of Management and Governance, 4, 69–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Osterloh, M., & Frey, B. S. (1997). Sanktionen oder Seelenmassage? Motivationale Grundlagen der Unternehmensführung. Die Betriebswirtschaft, 57, 307–321.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Osterloh, M., & Weibel, A. (2009). The governance of explorative knowledge production. In N. J. Foss & S. Michailova (Eds.), Knowledge governance-processes and perspectives (pp. 138–165). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the commons-The evolution of institutions for collective action. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Ostrom, E. (1998). A behavioral approach to the rational choice theory of collective action. American Political Science Review, 92(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Ostrom, E. (2000). Collective action and the evolution of social norms. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14(3), 137–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Ostrom, E. (2005). Understanding institutional diversity. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Ostrom, E. (2010). Beyond markets and states: Polycentric governance of complex economic systems. American Economic Review, 100(3), 641–672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Ouchi, W. G. (1979). A conceptual framework for the design of organizational control mechanisms. Management Science, 25(9), 833–848.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Ouchi, W. G. (1980). Markets, bureaucracies, and clans. Administrative Science Quarterly, 25, 129–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Owen, H. (2008). Open space technology-A user’s guide (3rd edn.), San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Perlman, K., & Leppert, J. (2013). Engage the unengaged. T + D, May, 58–63.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Piderit, S. K. (2000). Rethinking resistance and recognizing ambivalence: A multidimensional view of attitudes toward an organizational change. Academy of Management Review, 10, 783–794.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Posner, R. A., & Rasmusen, E. B. (1999). Creating and enforcing norms, with special reference to sactions. International Review of Law and Economics, 19(3), 369–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Poteete, A. R., Janssen, M. A., & Ostrom, E. (2010). Working together-collective action, the commons, and multiple methods in practice. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Potters, J., Sefton, M., & Vesterlund, L. (2001). Why announce leadership contributions? An experimental study of the signaling and reciprocity hypothesis. Tiburg University, Working paper no. 100.Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Rabin, M. (1993). Incorporating fairness into game theory and economics. American Economic Review, 83, 1282–1302.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Rafaeli, A. (1985). Quality circles and employee attitudes. Personnel Psychology, 38, 603–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Scarlett, H. (2013). Neuroscience…helping employees through change. Melcrum Connecting Communications, SCM, 32–36.Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Schmidt, W. (1974). Conflict, a powerful process or (good or bad) change. Management Review, 63(12), 4–10.Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Seabright, P. (1993). Managing local commons: Theoretical issues in incentive design. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 7(4), 113–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. 77.
    Seredynski, M., & Bouvry, P. (2012). Direct reciprocity-based cooperation in mobile ad-hoc networks. International Journal of Foundations of Computer Science, 23(2), 501–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    Sobrero, M., & Schrader, S. (1998). Structuring interfirm relationships: A meta-analytic approach. Organizational Studies, 19, 585–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Strauss, G. (1998). An overview. In F. Heller, et al. (Eds.), Organisational participation: Myth and reality (pp. 8–39). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Teece, D. J., Pisano, G., & Shuen, A. (1997). Dynamic capabilities and strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 18(7), 09–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    Tjosvold, D. (2008). The conflict-positive organization: It depends upon us. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29(1), 19–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Toralla, M. S. P., Falzon, P., & Morais, A. (2012). Participatory design in lean production: Which contribution from employees? For what end? Work (Reading, Mass. ), 41, 2706–2712.Google Scholar
  83. 83.
    Tsai, W., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital and value creation: The role of intrafirm net-works. Academy of Management Journal, 41(4), 464–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. 84.
    Van Knippenberg, B., Martin, L., & Tyler, T. (2006). Process-orientation versus outcome-orientation during organizational change: The role of organizational identification. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 27, 685–704.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. 85.
    Vesterlund, L. (2003). The informational value of sequential fundraising. Journal of Public Economics, 87(3–4), 627–657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. 86.
    von Krogh, G., & Roos, J. (1994). Knowledge in organizations, knowledge kransfer and cooperative strategies. International Business Review (Special Issue), 3, 331–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. 87.
    von Krogh, G., & Roos, J. (1996). Managing knowledge: Perspectives on cooperation and competition. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. 88.
    Vroom, V. H. (1964). Work and motivation. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Reinhard-Mohn-Institute for Management and Corporate GovernanceWittenGermany
  2. 2.Chair of Public Management and LeadershipGerman University of Administrative SciencesSpeyerGermany

Personalised recommendations