Collaboration in Organisations: Theories, Tools, Principles, and Practices by Paola Di Maio IEEE/DEST DIGITAL ECOSYSTEMS TUTORIAL PISANULOK, THAILAND 26 FEBRUARY 2008
Definition and classification
COLLABORATION/COMMUNICATION ARE ESSENTIAL TO:
“ collaboration ” = Latin “colaborare” — “to labor together.”
a process by which entities (people, organizations, and organisms) work together to accomplish a common goal.
Esther Dyson “Framework for Groupware” focused on three
different types of “locus of control,” based on the entity that will be
benefiting from the groupware:
2. Work- or object-centered
1. Tools — these would be the most granular layer; for example,
documents, messages, file
2. Channels — channels allow transfer of information among users, like communication exchange including repositories with multiple user access.
3. Structures — structures have the capability to add additional layers of meaning or information; anything that would allow the modification of tools is a collaboration structure.
4. Process — this is the collaboration layer where group decisions can be made and implemented; this would include anything from brainstorming to project management tools.
TYPES: INTERNAL VS EXTERNAL
Typically, collaboration can be internal or external; in contemporary extended organizations, however, these firm boundaries are increasingly flexible. For example, economies today rely heavily on outsourcing, and therefore all processes must allow for some degree of external collaboration. This is also true when considering the importance of collaboration in the supply chain and the adoption of service-oriented architectures (SOAs) in general.
1. Improving communication flow and knowledge exchange
2. Making organizational processes more efficient
3. Effectively leveraging and making use of the social capital; that is, the hidden network of resources that is available to any organization via the social networks but that too often is tacit and hidden due to lack of social knowledge and communication
Transcending the boundaries ( ORGANIZATIONAL/INFORMATION)
BENEFITS OF COLLABORATION
A Dynamic Theory of Collaboration , Laura Black
C ollaboration, knowledge, and trust are actually part of a wider and complex dynamic model. There they assert that “the domain of IT inherently crosses boundary, therefore requires a high degree of collaboration.”
Proceedings of the 36th Hawaii International Conference on System
Social worlds theory — one of the foundations of collaboration
theory, where social worlds are units of collective action and
working spheres characterized by fluid boundaries, diverse, and
multiple components — is in turn based on Anselm Strauss’Theory
of Continual Permutation of Action, as an analytical framework to
understand and explore the interwoven nature of mutually
dependent actions of collaborating actors. This idea is still
contemporary in our age of digital, interactive communication.
EVOLUTION OF INTERACTION
SOCIAL THEORY/SOCIAL NETWORKS PEOPLE+RELATIONSHIPS+TECHNOLOGY
SOCIAL SYSTEMS ARE COMPLEX
Complex systems share at least two common traits:
(1) system components can change internal states by interacting with other components
(2) the rules of behavior change dynamically following interaction.
The complexity of open, flexible social systems is increased by a higher number of participants, with each participant covering multiple roles, heterogeneous environments, different languages, and cultures. Given a social system formed by an unlimited number of actors, which in turn have unlimited interaction potential, the resulting picture looks somewhat chaotic.
LEVELS OF COLLABORATION
Cooperation and collaboration do not differ in terms ofwhether or not the
task is distributed, but by virtueof the way in which it is divided; in
cooperation thetask is split (hierarchically) into independent subtasks;in
collaboration cognitive processes may be (heterarchically) divided into
intertwined layers. Dillenbourg et al.
TRANSCENDING THE ORGANIZATIONAL BOUNDARIES
Boundaries Aristotelian logic, which prevails in Western thinking,
teaches us to separate to discern. In Western logic, boundaries
are necessary to make systems work
in Eastern logic, a lot of importance is attached to the connecting space between entities that is considered essential for closed systems to expand.
MORE BOUNDARIES osiris.sund.ac.uk/~cs0gco/IFIP/img001.GIF
“ Ba” is a Japanese word meaning “space” and, in knowledge management, is used to indicate a “shared context in motion where knowledge is created, shared and used.”
Where Does Collaboration Belong?
Where do we place this issue?
Whose job is this?
How does it fit in our chart?
What weight should it have on our budgets?
What priority should it have in our schedules?
Is collaboration more a business or a technology issue?
Should it be the responsibility of the human resources or the IT manager?
From the business viewpoint , collaboration consists mainly of a
set of behaviors and practices that can shape the technological infrastructure and impact the entire process chain.
From the technology viewpoint , collaboration refers to a set of
tools and IT services, as well as new types of open architectures
and innovative system designs devised to support a connected
and dynamic organization. Collaboration is a driver in pro-
moting a shift in thinking where the question is no longer about
setting boundaries but rather about transcending them.
Collaboration is a driver in promoting a shift in thinking where the question is no longer about setting boundaries but rather about transcending them.
This leads to another fact that is becoming obvious across all sciences: the blurring of cognitive boundaries as they have been imposed by “conventional” value systems. It’s becoming accepted that, realistically, nothing simply fits a single category anymore; everything is in a state of flux and changing fast.
INTERDISCIPLINARITY Disciplinary: Epistemologies, assumptions, knowledge, skills, methods within the boundary of a discipline. g. Physics; History; Psychology Multidisciplinary: Using the knowledge/understanding of more than one discipline. eg Physics and History; Biology and Architecture Interdisciplinary: Using the epistemologies/methods of one discipline within another. g. Biochemistry; Ecophilosophy; Astrophysics Transdisciplinary: Focus on an issue such as pollution or hunger both within and beyond discipline boundaries with the possibility of new perspectives www.hent.org/transdisciplinary.htm
TECHNOLOGY, MANAGEMENT, POLICY - MIT
10 PRINCIPLES OF COLLABORATION
Nonaka, Toyama, Scharmer describe 10 principles of dynamic configuration of places for maximum knowledge exchange, as
http :// mikeg . typepad . com / perceptions / 2007/05 / index . html
SELF ORGANISING SYSTEMS
COLLABORATIVE ONTOLOGY professional-learning.eu
IMPACT ON THE ORGANISATION
Thanks also to increased speed and quantity of information exchanged among individuals — the faster the interaction between members of a community, the faster it transforms — organizations have started recognizing that departments should not necessarily be viewed separately.
CONNECTORS BETWEEN LEVELS weblogs.asp.net / ralfw / archive /2005/06.aspx
MORE HOLONIC INTEGRATION weblogs.asp.net / ralfw / archive /2005/06.aspx
BARRIERS TO COLLABORATION
1. Lack of unplanned contact
2. Knowing who to contact about what
3. Difficulty in initiating contact
4. Inability to communicate effectively
5. Lack of trust and willingness to communicate openly
David Atkins from Oregon University discusses lessons learned in a global collaboration effort at Lucent Bell Labs and identifies the following five main obstacles to collaboration:
TOP 10 COLLABORATION FEARS
T echnological (levels of security and access, efficiency
of retrieval, IT skills)
C ultural (how can company policy be enforced?; what are the legal risks of handling spontaneous content?; how productive really is the use of the new technology?; how are we going to manage all this unstructured information?; what’s the ROI?).
The Seven Pillars of Collaboration, Michael Sampson
1. Shared access to team data
2. Location-independent access to team data, people, and applications
3. Real-time joint editing and review
4. Coordinating schedules with team-aware scheduling software
5. Building social engagement through presence, blogs, and IM
6. Enterprise action management
7. Broadening the network through automatic discovery services
A collaborative culture develops when two conditions are true:
(1) individuals feel free to express themselves creatively without fear of judgment,
(2) individuals feel free to modify and evolve what has been expressed by others without fear of disrupting anything. Freedom and lack of fear are seldom present in the workplace
EXAMPLE: Open Source Philosophy
The most prominent contemporary school and best example of
collaborative practice is the open source movement. Open source does not apply just to intellectual property or code development but also — and perhaps more importantly — to a cognitive model where every piece of output, be it physical and/or knowledge, can be used and reused by others to produce additional transformations. In social worlds, intelligence and creativity are incremental; they exist and develop thanks to aggregation. In order to facilitate this, collaboration must be enabled and supported. Exciting new project frameworks like open research, ( OpenCourseWare at MIT, Creative Commons )
GOALS SETTING? (SOME)
Define specific goals and document the anticipated value-added of collaboration to those goals.
Ensure alignment of goals with organizational culture.
Obtain buy-in to goals from all participants.
Define metrics to gauge progress toward goals.
Define schedule or ongoing mechanism to realign goals based on system evolution.
Integration of Collaboration Processes
Deconflict collaborative processes with existing work paradigms.
Define who needs to be online to achieve collaboration goals.
Specify criteria for system access.
Define types and classification level of data to be on the system.
Integrate groupware into existing systems and data flow.
Define and document roles and responsibilities.
Designate responsibility and process for content management.
Define and document the role of facilitators within the system.
Support evolving needs of users and organizations.
Ensure availability of data and personnel resources.