October 2015 | 

Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both

Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both

Seasoned negotiators know every deal can’t be “win-win,” so they’re skilled at multiple approaches for getting the most for their organizations. Similarly, the authors of the new book Friend & Foe (Crown Business, 2015) argue that to succeed in life and at work, being either fundamentally cooperative or fiercely competitive won’t get you the best outcomes. In fact, Wharton professor Maurice Schweitzer and Adam Galinsky of Columbia explain that humans are hardwired to do both, and learning how to strike the right balance between the two is the best way to improve long-term relationships both at work and at home and to get more of what you want.

In this highly practical book, they use insights from neuroscience, lively anecdotes, and their own cutting-edge research to explore the topic, navigating the confusing and often contradictory existing research on when to cooperate and compete. Along the way, they provide actionable advice on how to:

  • Diffuse conflict and increase cooperation within organizations (hint: it has to do with diversity)
  • Become a more proficient negotiator
  • Get people to cooperate by managing their attitudes and perceptions
  • Build trust and repair it when it’s broken
  • Boost our own motivation and happiness
  • Apologize effectively
  • Gain power and keep it

Ultimately, say Galinsky and Schweitzer, we are at our very best when we hold cooperation and competition in the right balance. Their new book is a first-of-its-kind guide to learning when and how to do both.