Role of Positive Interdependence in Achieving Mutual Goals

Positive interdependence is important in ensuring cooperation to accomplish mutual goals. In positive interdependence, an individual’s success is pegged to the success of all individuals in the entire group – i.e. the overall group’s success (Collazos, Guerrero, Pino, & Ochoa 2003). Where positive interdependence exists, individual members of a group perceive their actions to be interlinked with other group members’ actions such that a member’s success cannot arise without the success of the entire group. In a group, then, for positive interdependence to take root, the tasks must be organized and communicated in such a way that makes individual members believe that they will succeed or fail together (Janssen, Van De Vliert, & Veenstra, 1999).

Appropriately structured positive interdependence will thus give the group various characteristics that ensure accomplishment of mutual goals. First, each individual’s efforts will be a prerequisite and indispensable for the overall group success. Secondly, each individual is charged with a unique contribution to the group’s overall objective. Apportioning responsibility thus prevents aspects such as social loafing that may hinder the achievement of the group’s ultimate goal. To promote positive independence in a group various approaches could be used. An example of these, as suggested by Collazos et al. (2003), is to provide a joint reward for the group’s success with each individual getting the same reward. This approach is usually predominant in school settings where students are awarded the same grade for their group work. Positive interdependence is thus an essential part in ensuring mutual objectives are accomplished in a group setting. Go to part 4 here.

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