Much evidence exists to support the hypothesis that cooperation improves performance outcomes for both organizations and individuals. In spite of this, relatively little attention has been paid to the potential downstream consequences of asking self-reliant individuals to work and pursue goals in a team setting, where their success depends heavily on cooperation and the performance of others. This paper explores these downstream consequences. Across three studies, our results reveal that individuals prompted with self-reliance lose significant self-regulatory capacity after cooperating as opposed to competing individually, which leads them to act dishonestly (Experiments 1 and 3) and quit a task early (Experiment 2). Together, these findings highlight that cooperation, despite the performance advantages it offers teams, can also contribute to unforeseen costs for highly self-reliant individuals.
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