How Can a Lack of Cooperation Affect Productivity in a Workplace?

Ignoring the needs of others increases frustration.
i Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

There's nothing more annoying than a stubborn coworker who refuses to help you out. But when colleagues are unwilling or unable to work effectively together in the workplace, it also inevitably wrecks havoc on productivity and morale. A lack of cooperation can lead to resentment, cost overruns, lost business and a deteriorating workplace culture.


    Teamwork is essential not only to group projects, but to maintaining a productive overall work environment. All employees are connected in one way or another, where one individual's performance or lack of performance impacts the others. For example, a receptionist who fails to give a salesperson a phone message runs the risk of losing a sale for the business. A copywriter who fails to turn in advertising script to a graphic designer holds up creation of an advertisement intended to generate business. Any time an employee fails to carry out her cooperative job-related responsibilities, it has a negative impact on productivity.

Project Planning

    Successful project planning requires complete cooperation from all team members in order to be effective. Poorly planned or executed projects can bust a budget, blow deadlines and potentially cost the business money. A single team member not cooperating or carrying her weight can halt progress and reduce productivity. Even if coworkers attempt to take up the slack of noncooperative colleagues, heavy work burdens paired with resentment and frustration can impact the quality and quantity of work produced.

Information Sharing

    Sharing information and resources in a business helps build a cooperative environment, while an unwillingness to collaborate by withholding information can decrease work output. For example, if you see a colleague is struggling to learn a new computer program you are proficient at, yet you fail to offer help, the time wasted by that employee reduces her effectiveness in her job. Likewise, if a colleague has free time at the end of the workday, yet refuses to help team members meet a print deadline, the inaction results in lost time and increased costs for the business.


    Managers can contribute to lost productivity through uncooperative behaviors as well. For example, a manager who is unwilling to provide time, resources or guidance necessary to help an employee better perform her job hurts the overall effectiveness of the business. Further, a manager who allows a lack of collaboration among colleagues and team members to go unchecked inadvertently contributes to decreased productivity by not addressing the uncooperative situation to begin with.

the nest