Promote team work and shared learning. Build together and support one another. Leverage resources and knowledge to produce viral change.

Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket (also barrel, basket or pot), is a way of thinking best described by the phrase, “if I can’t have it, neither can you.” The metaphor refers to a common pattern of behavior seen in a group of crabs when they are trapped in a bucket: Their focus is on saving oneself rather than willing to cooperate to save the entire group. Individually, any given healthy crab could easily escape, but when grouped with others, any individual’s escape will be hindered by others. They will grab at each other in a futile “king of the hill” fight for survival, which eventually ensures their collective demise.

The analogy in human behavior is claimed to be that members of a group will attempt to negate or diminish the importance of any member who excels far more than other members or achieves success that overshadows others’, out of envy, spite, conspiracy or competitive feelings.

Is competition a threat to collaboration?  Why or why not?

Leave a Reply