Inspired living

Music promotes workplace cooperation


Music, they say, has powers to soothe the savage beast but can it transform a savage workplace into a haven of unified effort? According to a new study it might be able to but it needs to be the correct pieces of music.

For the experiment people were grouped into teams of three and given a task to perform. Each member of the group was given the opportunity to contribute to the overall value of the team using tokens or they could keep the tokens for themselves. Some teams listened to no music while others listened to music and those listening to music were divided into to two types.

Some groups listened to music that was described as happy and upbeat and included songs like the “Happy Days” theme song, Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”, The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” or Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine”. Other music-listening groups listened to heavy metal songs or lesser known pieces while they did the task.

The results showed that people who listened to positive, upbeat music were much more likely to contribute their tokens to the group than were the groups who listened to heavy metal or no music.

The researchers say that people do seem more likely to get in sync with each other when they listen to music that has a steady beat. So happy, toe-tapping music could build a more supportive and cooperative workplace. Perhaps you might want to be playing a little bit of Roy Orbison while you are working for the man.

Source: Journal of Organisational Behaviour


Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.