How to Measure Cooperativeness

August 30, 2019 Aon's Assessment Solutions

For most people, cooperativeness in their colleagues is an essential behavior. But how can talent decision-makers identify this trait in candidates and employees? 

Typically, we think that strong cooperation between team members leads to increased productivity, less conflict and greater job satisfaction. Can there possibly be a downside? Can there be negative implications if a person likes to work alongside others, is collaborative and respectful? What happens in situations where it is not possible for team members to work together and a more independent approach to work and decisions is needed?

Cooperativeness is just one of the personality areas measured in our ADEPT-15® questionnaire. Together with the dimensions of Humility and Sensitivity, Cooperativeness forms the Teamwork Style which examines how a person is likely to operate within a group or team.

How is Cooperativeness Seen in Behavior?

Cooperativeness measures the extent to which a person is independent from a group and self-reliant, or adopts a more team-oriented set of behaviors. As with all characteristics, there are both positives – and potential watch-outs – when scoring at either end of the dimension. Below are some of the upsides as well as some of the things to watch out for.

   The Leverage Points

Those scoring high on the Cooperativeness scale are likely to be:

  • Content to work alongside other team members.
  • Collaborative and consensus-focused.
  • Considerate, polite and respectful of team members.

Those scoring low tend to:

  • Prefer to work independently or away from the team.
  • Want to solve their own problems and not ask others for help.
  • Not be taken advantage of by others.

   The Watch-Outs

Watch out for the following with high-scorers on Cooperativeness:

  • Being overly trusting; they may be taken advantage of by others.
  • Being too focused on accommodating others.

For the low-scorers on Cooperativeness, watch out for:

  • Being overly skeptical of others’ motives and being distrustful.
  • Being impatient, disagreeable and uncooperative with others.

The Role of Cooperativeness in the Workplace

We can gain a real insight into how a person will interact and work within a group or team situation when we measure his or her level of cooperativeness.

Building Relationships and Collaborating

Those high on Cooperativeness prefer to work collaboratively and are engaged by team-oriented work environments. Further, they are very accommodating toward others and are much more inclined than their peers to establish and maintain relationships that allow for the product exchange of information.

Displaying Transparency and Candor

Individuals that score highly on Cooperativeness are much more likely to display sincerity, honesty, and openness in interactions with others. As such, they are more likely to be perceived as transparent and authentic when working with others.

Adapting to Individual Differences

Individuals scoring highly on Cooperativeness are very amenable and will likely adjust their behavior to accommodate others.

Valuing and Respects Diversity

Those with high Cooperativeness will likely foster an inclusive work environment focused on collaboration and consensus. As such, they will be more likely than others to value and foster teamwork and consider diverse perspectives.

Compensating for an Individual’s Cooperativeness Score

Depending where on the continuum of Cooperativeness an individual scores, there are other ADEPT-15 dimensions which may temper or compensate for their Cooperativeness score.

When Cooperativeness scores are low, we need to look at other scales:

  • Higher Flexibility and Liveliness scores. These can help mitigate an unwillingness to work with others as it ensures they are outgoing, friendly, and willing to adapt to meet other’s needs.

When an individual has a high Cooperativeness score, you may like to look elsewhere in the profile for:

  • Higher Assertiveness scores. This helps ensure they are not a “push over” and/or taken  advantage of others due to their willingness to help and be consensus-focused.
Read our guide, Reshape and Optimize Your Workforce, to learn how you can identify the applicants with the skills and behaviors you need for the future.


About ADEPT-15®

ADEPT-15® is the most advanced, secure, and award-winning* personality test available. With over 50 years of personality, leadership, and psychometric research combined with an adaptive approach to assessment design, ADEPT-15® measures 15 personality traits critical to successful workplace performance. It looks at our preferences, work styles and tendencies as well as what gives us energy and our possible blind spots. It indicates our strengths and areas for development as well as the leadership style we may use, and how others may see us.

*M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Research & International Personnel Assessment Council Innovations in Assessment Award

About the Author

Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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