December 7, 2023
Patience plays a crucial role for team performance, reveals new research by the University of Cologne. The study, conducted by Professors Felix Kölle and Thomas Lauer, investigated cooperative behaviour, as well as its underlying mechanisms, in a setting in which the benefits from successful teamwork accrue only in the future.
The results from their research suggest that firms can positively influence collaboration and productivity by strategically assigning employees with high levels of patience to long-term projects. They researchers add that such a strategy is particularly relevant for team composition as incorrectly assigning impatient people to long-term projects could undermine the efforts of the rest, especially as most people are conditional cooperators who only cooperate if others do so as well.
The results therefore suggest that assessing an applicant’s level of patience during the recruitment process can be a valuable strategy for identifying candidates with the necessary attributes. “This can easily be implemented by incorporating relevant questions and tests in interviews. Our findings further suggest that recognising and appreciating individual differences in patience may be essential when assigning projects,” says Professor Kölle.
The research highlights the role of patience as a critical non-cognitive skill in work settings. It also suggests that cultivating a workplace culture that values and encourages patience can be a promising strategy for promoting productivity.