Team Collaboration

Team Collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal. Collaboration is similar to cooperation. Most collaboration requires leadership, although the form of leadership can be social within a decentralized and egalitarian group. Teams that work collaboratively often access greater resources, recognition and rewards when facing competition for finite resources.

Structured methods of collaboration encourage introspection of behavior and communication. Such methods aim to increase the success of teams as they engage in collaborative problem-solving.

In its applied sense,”collaboration is a purposeful relationship in which all parties strategically choose to cooperate in order to accomplish a shared outcome.”

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Collaboration in business can be found both within and across organizations and ranges from partnership and crowd funding to the complexity of a multinational corporation. Inter-organizational collaboration brings participating parties to invest resources, mutually achieve goals, share information, resources, rewards and responsibilities, as well as make joint decisions and solve problems. Collaboration between public, private and voluntary sectors can be effective in tackling complex policy problems, but may be handled more effectively by boundary-spanning teams and networks than by formal organizational structures. Collaboration allows for better communication within the organization and along supply chains. It is a way of coordinating different ideas from numerous people to generate a wide variety of knowledge. Collaboration with a selected few firms has been shown to positively impact firm performance and innovation outcomes.

Technology has provided the internet, wireless connectivity and collaboration tools such as blogs and wikis, and has as such created the possibility of “mass collaboration”. People are able to rapidly communicate and share ideas, crossing longstanding geographical and cultural boundaries. Social networks permeate business culture where collaborative uses include file sharing and knowledge transfer. According to author Evan Rosen command-and-control organizational structures inhibit collaboration and replacing such structures allows collaboration to flourish.

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Studies have found that collaboration can increase achievement and productivity. However, a four-year study of interorganizational collaboration found that successful collaboration can be rapidly derailed through external policy steering, particularly where it undermines relations built on trust. Collaboration is also threatened by opportunism from the business partners and the possibility of coordination failures that can derail the efforts of even well-intentioned parties.