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Goal-oriented employees more productive

July 05, 2013 15:26 IST

OfficeEmployees who know exactly what the goal of their teamwork is, tend to be more productive, a new study has found.

Researchers from Aarhus University's transdisciplinary Interacting Minds Centre in Denmark provide insight into how to improve productivity when members of a group share a clearly identifiable goal.

"Our study focused on how to improve levels of cooperation. What we found was that when people know exactly what they're supposed to be doing as members of a team, they are more willing to trust each other and cooperate more in the future," said Panos Mitkidis, a post-doc scholar at Aarhus University, Denmark.

He suggests that levels of cooperation improve when we know exactly what our goals are -- instead of just following a process without really knowing where we are going.

The study provides a clue about how people can be more cooperative and productive by switching the focus to goals instead of focusing on processes.

"Knowing exactly what our goals are actually appears to increase our perception of cooperation, trust and shared expectations," Mitkidis said.

"In fact, the study showed that when the people involved could see the end product they felt they were sharing a collective goal and were therefore more willing to trust and cooperate with their colleagues," he said.

Trust and clear goals are indeed important ingredients in successful cooperation between people in all types of settings, the study found.

"The study develops an insight into the benefits and consequences of rationalising administrative processes in modern states and formal institutions," Mitkidis said.

"In business corporations some important questions are: how can we make sure that all employees have a clear goal for the work they do, and how can we build trust on a business level?" he said.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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