Kernel Factsheet — Relational Kernel

Soft Team Competition


  • Education
  • Workplace
  • Community
  • Family

Developmental Phases

  • Early Childhood
  • Childhood
  • Early Adolescence
  • Adolescence
  • Emerging Adulthood

Related Constructs



Impacted Behaviors

+ Be more socially competent
+ Help given when needed
Reduced coercion
Less aggression
Reduce peer aggression and bullying
Less problem behavior
Reduced disruptive behavior

How It Works

Children, teens, and/or adults are put into teams based on location or some affiliation. They “compete” to do some good. Progress toward the good is always prominent in the public ear or eye. Social commendations occur frequently to the teams that accomplishment good things. There are no long-term losers or winners, and the greater good or common good is the transcendent goal.

Measuring Change

Each self-modeling protocol must have clear units of behavior change and competencies, not abstractions. Typically, immediate or very quick behaviors (e.g., a particular skill) will be altered.

Performance and Impact

The immediate changes in behavior typically have longer-term effects. For example, one series of studies on children’s safety used this model to increase prompting for parents to participate, and then changed children’s immediate safety skills, which then affected community indicators.

Improves academic engagement and achievement; reduces disruptive behavior, smoking; increases safety; changes brain chemistry favoring attention and endurance. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


  1. Beersma, B., Hollenbeck, J.R., Humphrey, S.E., Moon, H., Conlon, D.E., & Ilgen, D.R. (2003). Cooperation, competition, and team performance: toward a contingency approach.. Academy of Management Journal, 46(5), 572–590.  

  2. Hoigaard, R., Safvenbom, R. & Tonnessen, F.E. (2006). The relationship between group cohesion, group norms, and perceived social loafing in soccer teams.. Small Group Research, 37(3), 217–232.  

  3. Kivlighan, K.T., & Granger, D.A. (2006). Salivary a-amylase response to competition: Relation to gender, previous experience, and attitudes.. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 31, 703–714.  

  4. Koffman, D.M., Lee, J.W., Hopp, J.W., & Emont, S.L. (1998). The impact of including incentives and competition in a workplace smoking cessation program on quit rates.. American Journal of Health Promotion, 13(2), 105–111.  

  5. Neave, N. & Wolfson, S. (2003). Testosterone, territoriality, and the ‘home advantage.’. Physiology and Behavior, 78(2), 269–275.