Teamwork: are repairing actions necessary?

In a cooperative teamwork every damage produced by a member to another participant needs to be repaired. This repair is a cost the damager has to pay in order to reconcile with the group.

A repairing action implies regretting the damaging action, doing common good actions (for the members of the group) and substituting what has been damaged.

But this rule does not apply in competitive environments where competition prevails over cooperation. In these environments damagers are not responsible for the damage produced as long as they consider their actions as justified, unavoidable or necessary.

In actual teamwork many of the damaging actions are non-conscious. They are justified if they happen in a competitive environment, but require repair in a cooperative context, (intentions do not count).

The rules of an environment define the cooperative or competitive prevalence. Individuals need to follow these rules to be functional. For example the building of “spirit de corps” requires, on the one hand, the dominance of cooperation in the internal relationship in a group but, simultaneously, a strong competition with the external environment.

Cultures like the Japanese and the German are based on cooperation. The institution of “hara-kiri” is the expression of the need to repair in extreme conditions.

Depending on the goals, cooperation or competition have to prevail or need to be integrated to build social capital. Both are ethical behaviors with different functionalities.

Repairing actions are necessary to build social capital or to cooperate, but are unnecessary in competitive environments. In these environments damages are part of the rules of the game. Sorry, nothing personal… is a saying that suffices.

NOTE: The Unicist Research Institute was the pioneer in complexity science research and became a global decentralized world-class research organization in the field of human adaptive systems.