Want To Promote TEAMWORK In Your Workplace? Use MUSIC!

shutterstock_311989154 teamwork, workplace, music

organifi-web2 teamwork, workplace, music

Written by: Lindsay Sibson

Music – it has the power to evoke memories and feelings in a few seconds flat.

Not only can music “take you back” to pleasant and heartwarming memories, but it can also have an influence on your mood – especially in the workplace.

A recent study suggests that the TYPE of music you hear during your workday has the ability to influence feelings of cooperation and teamwork.

The Study

Researchers at Cornell University explored in a set of lab experiments and discovered that:

“MUSIC can have an important effect on the COOPERATIVE spirits of people exposed to music.”

Kevin Kniffin, William Schulze, Jubo Yan and Brian Wansink (Cornell researchers) published their findings in the Journal of Organizational Behavior that detailed the impact of various types of music on the cooperative behavior of individual people working as a team:

  • Participants were grouped into teams of 3
  • Each team member was given multiple opportunities to:
    • 1. Contribute to the team’s value using tokens


    • 2. Keep the tokens for personal use

The Results

The researchers found contribution levels to the team when happy, upbeat songs were played were approximately one-third higher compared to the unpleasant music.

Music Type Songs Effects
  • Upbeat music was played, such as:
    • “Happy Days” theme song
    • “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
    • “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles
    • “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & the Waves
  • Team members were MORE likely to contribute to the group’s value
  • Heavy metal songs by less than well-known bands
  • Team members were more likely to keep tokens for themselves

A second experiment was conducted by the researchers to determine how people react when NO music is played and the results were the same, which led them to conclude that:

“Happy music provokes people to more often make decisions that contribute to the good of the team.”

According to researcher Kniffin, a behavioral scientist at Cornell and lead author of the paper:

“Music is a pervasive part of much of our daily lives, whether we consciously notice it or not. 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.”

Director of Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Wansink, further explains that:

“What’s great about these findings, other than having a specific reason to blast tunes at work, is that happy music has the power to make the workplace more cooperative and supportive overall.”

Enhance YOUR Workplace With Music

Starting the workday by keeping in mind to select upbeat music could result in HAPPIER employees and MORE teamwork. Kniffin commented that:

“Lots of employers spend significant sums of time and money on offsite teambuilding exercises to build cooperation among employees. Our research points to the office sound system as a channel that has been underappreciated as a way to inspire cooperation among co-workers.”

What are your thoughts about this study on music? What’s your go-to jam when you need some upbeat tunes? Share with us in the comments below!


organifi-web2 teamwork, workplace, music

Lindsay Sibson

Lindsay Sibson

Lindsay Sibson turned her lifelong dream of traveling the world into a reality when she first stepped on a plan in April of 2014. With the simple intention of learning more about this beautiful world, she stepped away from corporate America to explore an alternative lifestyle of long term international travel, volunteering, blogging and pursuing a blissfully happy and fulfilling way of life.

Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life. Connect with her on her website and follow her travels on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/_traveloholic_).

Through her blog, Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life.
Lindsay Sibson

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