Want Teams to Cooperate More in the Workplace? Play Music

The Stones.  Rihanna.  The Weekend.  Kevin Gates.  Even, Raffi, for those of you with kids!

But what would your workplace be like if you heard music from one of these musicians or groups?

A new study says teamwork would grow.

According to newswise.com, music at work increases cooperation.   From casual acoustic melodies at the coffee shop to throbbing electronic beats at teen clothing outlets, music is used to mold customer experience and behavior.But what about employees?

Cornell researchers have found that music can have important effects on the cooperative spirits of those exposed to it.  They looked for ways music affected employees working three to a team, then played the music.

When happy, upbeat music was played – researchers chose the “Happy Days” theme song, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles and “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves – team members were more likely to contribute to the group’s value.

When music deemed unpleasant was played – in this case, heavy metal songs by less than well-known bands – participants were more likely to keep tokens they were given as part of the experiment for themselves. The researchers found contribution levels to the public good when happy, upbeat songs were played were approximately one-third higher compared to the less pleasant music.

When researchers conducted a second experiment testing how people react when no music is played, the results were the same. The researchers conclude that happy music provokes people to more often make decisions that contribute to the good of the team.

“Music is a pervasive part of much of our daily lives, whether we consciously notice it or not,” say researchers. “Music might melt into the background in places like supermarkets or gyms and other times it’s very prominent like places of worship or presidential nominating conventions. Our results show that people seem more likely to get into sync with each other if they’re listening to music that has a steady beat to it.”

Want to start off your days on a better foot?  Think about your employees' choice of music as much as you do customers, if you want your teams to play better in the sandbox.  



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