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


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

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


  • Collaboration: Enabling the emergence of shared understandings

and realization of shared visions in complex environments and systems" (

Differentiation 2

From the CommunityWiki at

"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." (

More Information

Expanded treatment at

Dave Pollard on collaboration at