Collaboration

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According to MetaCollab [1], Collaboration differs from cooperation:


URL = http://collaboration.wikia.com/wiki/Collaboration

Dave Pollard has an extensive graphic outlining the differences between coordination, cooperation, and collaboration.


Definitions

Differentiation 1

"* Cooperation: Obtain mutual benefit by sharing or partitioning work

  • Collaboration: Achieve collective results that the participants

would be incapable of accomplishing working alone


"Optimal application

  • Coordination: Harmonizing tasks, roles and schedules in simple

environments and systems

  • Cooperation: Solving problems in complicated environments and

systems

  • Collaboration: Enabling the emergence of shared understandings

and realization of shared visions in complex environments and systems" (http://collaboration.wikia.com/wiki/Collaboration)


Differentiation 2

From the CommunityWiki at http://www.communitywiki.org/CwordProblem


"Cooperative: working together, but through adherence to a set of shared rules or norms. Communication or coordination is not required. A market, or the way people appropriate goods from a commons are examples of such cooperation.

Collaborative: Implies that people are making efforts to work together and with purpose, usually around a mutual-agreed upon outcome or project." (http://www.communitywiki.org/CwordProblem)


Typology

A structuring of different types of collaboration, from directed (1), through hybrid (2-3) to volunteered (4).

From http://mikeg.typepad.com/perceptions/2007/04/categorizing_co.html


"*1. Process requirements require user engagement: People involved in business processes often are assigned certain roles and responsibilities that direct their efforts towards collaboration with others. For instance, a claim adjustor must collaborate with those investigating a transaction for fraud detection as part of an exception handling process. Field sales personnel could be required to work together with a corporate market analyst on a regular basis as part of a competitive intelligence process.

2. Shared activities creates a sense of co-dependency that motivates collaboration: To some extent, shared activities can be considered a subset of a process (and you would be correct) but my main purpose in breaking this out is to allow discussion on collaboration within projects or other collections of shared tasks (people may not formally call all clustered activities a project). Activities of this type often create co-dependencies between group members. Co-dependencies take advantage of self-interest as motivation to collaborate. The group needs everyone to succeed (to various extents) in order for the team to be considered successful and for that self-motivated person to perhaps succeed as well. There is of course the extreme that occurs when "great teams" perform at high levels and go well-beyond self-interest and collaborate richly to ensure the success of other group members. Self-interest or allegiance to team solidarity can also promote collaboration.

3. Community participation induces contribution: Professional or social interaction can encourage and persuade people to share information and know-how which in turn, can lead to ad-hoc collaboration. While community participation does not defacto guarantee collaboration, healthy communities with the effective leadership and followership traits can create a variety of emotions across members ranging from empathy (to help someone struggling with an issue) to a sense of activism (that the community can act as a change agent within an organization). So collaboration here is often influenced by relationship factors that coax people to interact and share.

4. Network connections foster reciprocal cooperation: Social networks are all the rage right now any many believe that the topic is over-hyped. It is over-hyped but also, in my experience, social networks have a salient impact on collaboration levels overall. In one example, Person A is collaborating with Person B. Person B taps into their social network to gain advice, to make sense out of something or perhaps to connect with someone who has the appropriate know-how. Person B then turns around and continues to work together with Person A. The cooperative nature of social networking in this case was to supplement another collaborative interaction. Social networks themselves can also be viewed as a type of collaborative model as well. The type of cooperation within social networks may not be as explicit in terms of the collaboration found in other scenarios but that does not diminish it from being considered with a categorization model. There are a variety of social networks - some are personal (used for career advice or mentoring), some are formed based on professional connections, others could be formed by people having other associations such as a common educational background or share an experience with a previous employer. " (http://mikeg.typepad.com/perceptions/2007/04/categorizing_co.html )


More Information

Expanded treatment at http://collaboration.wikia.com/wiki/Collaboration

Dave Pollard on collaboration at http://blogs.salon.com/0002007/2005/03/25.html#a1090

Howard Rheingold on the difference between online cooperation and collaboration. Wiki’s and Open Source: Collaborative or Cooperative?