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Universitii Petrol Gaze din Ploieti

Vol. LX
No. 1B/2008
1 - 7
tiinele Educaiei

Determinative factors of interpersonal cooperative
Cristina Corina Benea
Universitatea Dunrea de Jos Galai
E-mail: corina.stir@yahoo.com
This paper is a part of an experimental approach of interpersonal cooperative behaviour in resolutive-
cognitive activity. 247 subjects participated to the experiment. In the first stage they were trained to work
efficiently in cooperative activities. In the second stage they worked to a cognitive task by in-group
cooperation. The research hypothesis has aimed at evincing the specificity of this type of behaviour, by
identifying psychological internal variables which can influence cooperative behaviours of the subjects in
resolutive activities. These certain internal factors are able to adequately explain the manifest aspects of
interpersonal cooperation.
Keywords: in-group cooperation, interpersonal behaviour, cognitive task, internal variable, factor.
Experimental hypothesis
People have a specific behavioral pattern in dependence on they react to the social influences in
different situations. The persons which are characterized by an interpersonal interaction style
adopt a typical actional strategy which depend and can be influence by individual and in-group
values induse them by socialization and adapted it to the nature of activity to where they work
(Kagan, 1984, in Chelcea, 1990). Interpersonal relational style is such of behavioral pattern.
Cooperativity, as central dimension of cooperative interpersonal style is a personality trait, a
personal construct, an individual over-situational characteristic which influences the atitudes
and interpersonal behaviour in different situations and activities (Cohen, 1982, in Chelcea,
1990). A cooperative person is characterized by orientation to interpersonal relationships,
flexible behaviour, empathy, care for others interests.
The subjects options for cooperation or competition depend on the following variables: internal
motivation, the cultural specific character of ingroup, personal and social system of values,
personality traits, personal goals and type of interdependence (positive or negative) of means
and goals (Raven, 1963; Cosier & Dalton, 1988 in Chelcea, 1990). In a meta-analyse study,
Johnson and colab. (1981) found that citizenship behaviour has a positive effect to cooperation
and citizenship behaviour is strongly related to the values of cooperation (Smith, Organ&Near,
1983, pp. 653). The citizenship behaviour, which is similar helping orientation, is characterized
the participants to cooperative learning situations (Deutsch, 1985; Johnson&Johnson, 1983).
This dispositional trait explain why individuals work better in cooperative than competitional
situations. R. Cosier and D. Dalton (1988) demonstrated that the subjects who have strongly
citizenship values obtain better performances and have more satisfaction in cooperative than
2 Cristina Corina Benea

competitive conditions. The helping orientation interacts with cooperation-competition variable,
cooperation influences and is induced by helping orientation (Deutsch, 1985).
In this study we only refer to some of motivational variables which are related to the behaviour
of cooperation, like personal values specific to (professional) activities and interdependence-
independence dimension. Values are directional orientations, motivational variables of
personality which represent needs, atitudes and individual preferences, induced by socialization.
Values have a central position in self/Ego structure (Rocheach, 1973, in Chelcea, 1994). Values
have explanatory role for subjects behaviours in cooperation or competition group conditions, in
interaction with social and personality variables (Johnson& Johnson, 1989, 1983). Predominant
individual orientations to collaborative or competitive activities can be explained by the fact that
subjects organize values in hierarchical system and assign them different significations. In this
study, were examined that values which refer to the ways in which participants related to the
different specific aspects of activities. These values were measured with Super Professional
Values Inventory (IVP), adapted by S. Chelcea on Work Inventory Values (D. E. Super, 1970).
It was measured 13 professional values; were excluded two values who dont relate to
cooperation and competition (esthetic value, physical environment). We consider that, in
generally, these values are available and representative for other human activities too than
professional activities.
Like values, interdependence and independence are self dimensions, motivational traits of
personality. Independence indicates the aspects of individuality of the person, the predominant
orientation to her goals unlike interdependence which indicates the need for interaction with
others, to establish social and interpersonal relationships. Persons with strong interdependent
self structure are easily involve in social activities, establish optimal interpersonal relationships
and flexible adapt to the diversity of social situations (Leung, 1985, apud L. Iacob, A. Ra,
2002, pp. 64). Independence and interdependence of self concept influence the subjects
behaviour in cooperative group activities (Oetzel, 2001). Interdependence and independence
were measured with Self-Construals Inventory, elaborated by Singelis (1994).
Starting by the results of these studies we propose to demonstrate the existence of internal
variables which can sistematicaly influence the subjects behaviours in situations of
interpersonal cooperation. Identification the psychological nature of these latent variables can
facilitate the understanding of the different ways of interpersonal interaction of the subjects
when they work ingroup activities by cooperation or by competition These internal variables
(factors) can explain why some subjects work better in a cooperative situation than in a
competitional situation and conversly. These internal factors in interaction with situationale
variables can be responsable by the behaviour and the performance of the subjects in resolutive
in-group activities by cooperation or competition. So, we predict that the values provocate by
this type of situation (interpersonal cooperation) toghether with motivational self dimensions
can be cristalized like dispositions, propensities or personality factors.
The experiment has been conducted on 102 students subjects between the ages of 19 to 30
years, with a mean age of 20,9 years and a standard deviation of 3,65 years.

Determinative factors of interpersonal cooperative behaviour 3

In the preexperimental stage, the subjetcs have been worked in cooperative groups. A basic
element for optimal functioning of cooperative groups is teaching participants the required
interpersonal and small group skills (Johnson and Johnson, 1995). Cooperative work is
inherently more complex than competitive or individualistic activity because subjects have to
engage simultaneously in task work and teamwork (functioning effectively as a group). Because
social skills for effective cooperative work do not momentary appear, we focused on the
acquisition and developing of interpersonal relation and group work abilities, which are
absolutely necessary for the participants, such as: abilities of leadership, decision-making,
organizing and leading activities, taking specific roles in task solving process, offering mutual
support in solving task, individual and group accountability for achieving its goals and for
contributing each participant to the work, trust-building, direct and efficient communication and
conflict-management skills empower students to manage both teamwork and taskwork
successfully. Since cooperation and conflict are inherently related, the procedures and skills for
managing conflicts constructively are especially important for the long-term success of working
groups. In the preexperimental stage, for 12 weeks, the members of cooperative groups have
been trained in activities based on group colaboration focused on acquiring and developing a
minimum level of cooperation competence necessary to perform in different in-group activities.
We used a set of procedures and strategies for teaching students interpersonal and small group
skills (Johnson, 1991, 1993; Johnson and Johnson, 1994). All along the preparation stage the
functioning of the groups involved in cooperative situation were constantly monitorized and
provided to the participants the feed-back for the efficiently achievement of the tasks.
In the experimental stage, subjects from cooperative groups have been randomly divided in
subgroups of 3 members. In establishing the size of the groups, we take into consideration the
results of the studies on cooperative learning which indicated that the optimal size of groups for
perform in collective activities is 2-5 members. The cooperative character of the situation in
experimental conditions was induced both through subjects instructing and the reward and
penalization system used in assessment their activity. In the cooperative groups, the members
must solve the same task with a joint effort of interindividual colaboration in group. In
instructing it was specified that in the end, each member of the subgroup will obtain the same
result of the whole group. It was induced the idea that every participant must contribute to
obtaining the best result for his group, himself being evaluated through the grade awarded to the
subgroup. For facilitate assess the individual contributions of each member to the common
group activity, the working sheets been signed. To exclud possibility of intervention an effect of
intergroup competiton, told subjects that the subgroups do not compete one against the other,
two or more subgroups being able to get the same grade. It created the positive interdependence
of purposes and rewards of the members of the groups which are the basic condition for
cooperation activity.
The task
The in-group cooperation activity is advised in complex problems solving with multiple
alternatives which involve superior comprehension and analitical thinking strategies. This kind
of common group task which is base on divergent thinking or creativity is more favorable for
interpersonal cooperation than the task with only one alternative of solving. In this experiment,
the task was composed by cognitive problems with verbal, numerical and figurative items. The
task have 40 items and the request for subjects was to correctly solving the task by cooperation
or competiton with their group parteners. The performance in problem solving task measured by
the total score of correctly solved items. For each correct item the subjets got a point. In
cooperative groups, after the discussions concerning the ways of solving the task, the subjects
wrote the answers in their individual working sheets. There was no limit of time in solving task
process, this aspect otherwise imposed by the cooperation activity, which compared with other
4 Cristina Corina Benea

form of activities require more time for activity in groups, time for discuss the possible
alternatives, analysing logical criteria, comparing and confronting the different points of view,
discuss how well they are achieving their goals and maintaining effective working relationships.
In post experimental stage has been applied to subjects the Singelis Inventory and IVP Super.
The factors were extracted by exploratory factor analysis of principal components. First we
verified if factor analysis is adecquate for the sample by KMO method (t=0.751) and Barlett test
of sphericity (Chi-square (91) = 700.68.19, p< .001). The intercorelation matrix indicate that
independence variable do not significant corelate with no other variables. Independence has a
lower communality (c=0.30), so it was excluded from factor analysis. In table 1 is presented
degrees of variables communality after excluding independence variable.

Table 1. The communality of variables
Variable Iniial Comunality
Alt 1.000 0.740
Si 1.000 0.676
Rp 1.000 0.460
Ip 1.000 0.366
Pr 1.000 0.695
Co 1.000 0.621
Sp 1.000 0.643
Rs 1.000 0.626
Rc 1.000 0.667
Mv 1.000 0.970
Va 1.000 0.651
Cr 1.000 0.691
Ae 1.000 0.969
Int 1.000 0.738

For extraction of the factors it was used the Kaiser criterion. Were extracted five eigenvalues
which explain together 68 % from total variance (table 2). Unrotated factor matrix is presented
in table 3.
Table 2. Total variance explained
Initial Eigenvalues Extraction Sums of Squared
Rotation Sums of Squared

Total % of
Total % of
Total % of
1 3.256 23.254 23.254 3.256 23.254 23.254 2.220 15.855 15.855
2 2.284 16.315 39.568 2.284 16.315 39.568 2.151 15.361 31.216
3 1.494 10.673 50.241 1.494 10.673 50.241 1.850 13.215 44.431
4 1.318 9.417 59.658 1.318 9.417 59.658 1.833 13.096 57.527
5 1.160 8.285 67.943 1.160 8.285 67.943 1.458 10.416 67.943
6 .927 6.623 74.566
7 .839 5.991 80.557
8 .677 4.836 85.393
9 .626 4.472 89.864
10 .439 3.132 92.997
11 .419 2.994 95.991
12 .341 2.433 98.424
13 .212 1.513 99.937
14 8.762E-
6.259E-02 100.000
Determinative factors of interpersonal cooperative behaviour 5

Table 3. Unrotated factor matrix
Component (factor) Variable
1 2 3 4 5
Alt .185 .531 .588 -1.469E-02 .280
Si .505 .453 -.109 .442 -9.287E-02
Rp .574 .196 -8.546E-02 9.858E-02 .272
Ip .346 -.319 7.976E-02 -.295 -.225
Pr .652 -.158 -.425 -.183 .177
Co .606 .198 .220 -.406 -4.662E-02
Sp .497 .105 -.542 -.255 .160
Rs .644 -.201 9.288E-02 -.367 .164
Rc .262 .591 .432 -6.256E-02 .240
Mv .560 -.645 .288 .394 4.891E-02
Va .318 .475 4.779E-02 .266 -.501
Cr .528 .299 -.331 .214 -.409
Ae .529 -.660 .295 .406 3.738E-02
Int -.145 .156 -.350 .433 .618

Than, for simplify the factorial structure, the factors were rotated. Rotation Method was
Varimax with Kaiser Normalization. Rotated factor matrix is presented in table 4.
Table 4. Rotated factor matrix
Variable 1 2 3 4 5
Alt -8.976E-02 -1.476E-02 5.726E-02 .853 -2.677E-02
Si .196 .123 .718 .246 -.217
Rp .491 .196 .248 .309 -.147
Ip .219 .220 -3.527E-02 -9.209E-02 -.509
Pr .798 .186 9.476E-02 -.105 6.637E-02
Co .416 3.217E-02 .144 .447 .476
Sp .772 -.131 .154 -7.552E-02 -1.392E-02
Rs .579 .299 -.108 .224 .373
Rc 4.629E-02 -9.981E-02 .149 .795 -1.777E-02
Mv .107 .972 3.017E-02 -4.288E-02 .107
Va -9.928E-02 -5.696E-02 .767 .170 .144
Cr .299 4.440E-03 .767 -8.268E-02 8.427E-02
Ae 7.508E-02 .974 2.078E-02 -6.073E-02 .105
Int .157 -5.866E-03 -6.452E-02 1.369E-02 .842
Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization
Rotation converged in 7 iterations

Function by the variables which saturate every factor and the significance of variables, we
entitled factors. The first factor is orientation to professional spiritual (nonmaterial) benefits
(prestige, safety/security, success, acceptance by chiefs/leaders). The second factor was self-
direction and hedonistical orientation. The third extracted factor is active orientation in task.
The following factor was positive attitude for others. The last factor, which is a tendency-factor
because explain less than 10% from total variance, is propensity to social relationship.
All these factors are internal psychological variables can explain the subjects behaviours in
situations of interpersonal cooperation. Thus, cooperative behaviours of the subjects who were
trained their cooperative groupwork skills are influence by latent factors too. In cooperative
6 Cristina Corina Benea

conditions, participants are strongly involve in task solving activity toghether with other group
members. They related through positive atitudes to activity and parteners in achievement of the
common goals. They self-regulation their behaviours in common activities and self-orietation
through satisfy their needs and goals. The cooperative behaviour is influence by social
relationship propensity in the context of work activity in group.
Identification the pattern of internal factors wich can sistematically influence the subjects
behaviours in cooperative activity is only the first stage of an explanatory study, which can be
complete by including in factor analysis other variable of personality relevant for understanding
of cooperative behaviours. The diversity of personality traits which can influence or determine
the subjects behaviuors offers the possibility to including the different personality variables in
multifactorial explanatory structure, with different degrees of significance and situational
adecquating. Than, after the exploratory factor analysis the last stage is the confirmatory factor
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Determinative factors of interpersonal cooperative behaviour 7

Factori determinativi pentru comportamentul de cooperare
Lucrarea reprezint o secven dintr-un studiu experimental mai amplu referitor la comportamentul de
cooperare interpersonal. La experiment au participat 247 de subieci. n prima etap, acetia au fost
sistematic antrenai pentru a lucra eficient n activiti de cooperare n grup. n cea de-a doua etap
subiecilor li s-a cerut s lucreze la soluionarea unei sarcini cognitive prin cooperare intragrupal.
Ipoteza cercetrii a vizat demonstrarea specificitii acestui tip de comportament prin identificarea unor
variabile psihologice interne care pot influena manifestrile comportamentale ale subiecilor n
realizarea de activiti prin cooperare interpersonal. Aceti factori interni ar putea explica n mod
adecvat conduita de cooperare interpersonal.