Satisfaction as a function of manifest dominance and deference needs in cooperative competitive situations
Woodson, William Brooks
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This study was designed to test two hypotheses: I. Dominant and Deferent persons derive more satisfaction from working in a cooperative social climate than from working tn a competitive social climate. II. Dominant and Deferent subjects derive more satisfaction from working with co-workers whose needs are complementary to their own needs than from working with co-workers whose needs are similar to their own needs. These hypotheses were deductions from a conceptual framework based on Murray's need system. The task used in this experiment was a modified version of the Yerkes memory-reasoning task. It required the subjects to determine which switch positions on two switch boxes had to be selected in order to get all eight lights on identical panel boxes lighted once and only once. Ninety-six male college students were selected as subjects on the basis of scores they had obtained on a quasi-sociometric questionnaire designed to measure manifest needs Dominance and Deference. Forty-eight Dominant and forty-eight Deferent students were selected and assigned to groups so that three types of dyads were formed: one type composed of two Dominant persons, a second type composed of two Deferent persons, and a third type composed of one Dominant and one Deferent person. The first two types represent dyads where the needs of the co-workers are similar. The third type represents a dyad where the needs of the co-workers are complementary. For each type of dyad, half of the pairs were given cooperative and half were given competitive instructions. Thus six experimental conditions were formed. Assignment of subjects to conditions was determined by matching individuals and dyads on the basis of abstract-reasoning ability. Precautions were taken to prevent prior knowledge of co-worker, time when task was performed, and manner of administering instructions from affecting the results of this study. An end-of-session questionnaire was used to measure the dependent variable, satisfaction. Four types of satisfaction were measured: general satisfaction, satisfaction with the co-worker, satisfaction with the social climate, and satisfaction with the task. A 2 x 2 x 2 x 4 analysis of variance design was used to analyze the data collected. The first hypothesis was supported. The second hypothesis was not supported; in fact the relevant mean values were in a direction opposite to the one predicted. There were a number of significant findings which had not been predicted from the conceptual frame-work . It was discovered that Dominant persons consistently derive greater satisfaction than do Deferent persons and that the major contributors to the difference in level of satisfaction for these two groups are their reactions to the social climate and their reaction to the co-'trorkers. Dominant persons are more satisfied when they cooperate than when they compete regardless of whether the needs of the co--worker are similar to or complementary to their own. The Deferent person, however, derives more satisfaction from competition, but only if he is competing with another Deferent person; he prefers cooperation with either type co-worker to competition with a Dominant co-worker. In order to determine whether the unexpected findings occurred as a result of procedural shortcomings in the study, three procedural checks were made. These checks revealed that: (1) there were definite indications that subjects did interact during the experimental sessions in a manner consistent with their measured manifest needs, (2) one-third of the subjects indicated that they had not worked in a manner consistent with instructions given to establish the social climate and (3) over one-half of the subjects indicated that they had not correctly perceived these instructions. Findings two and three above led this writer to conclude that the results of this study can be accepted only if it is ascertained that the same results would have been obtained if the apparent misunderstandings and misperceptions of the social climate instructions had not existed. It was pointed out that such determination can be made only after future research had been conducted. Recommendations were made for such research where primary attention would be directed toward eliminating the procedural shortcomings of the present study. It was pointed out that specific theoretical modifications would be necessary in order to explain the results of future studies 'tvhich are consistent with the results of the present study.
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