Collaboration in the Workplace

Topics: Collaboration, Critical thinking, Decision making Pages: 9 (2921 words) Published: July 20, 2011
Advantages and Disadvantages of Collaboration in the Workplace In this global economy in which organizations are driven by technology, processes and the need to share information, collaboration is important. Rosen (2007) defines collaboration as "working together to create value while sharing virtual or physical space" (p. 9). Collaboration has become a standard in today’s organizations. Teams are working together virtually or face-to-face on projects or on problem solving. Sharing experiences between corporate team’s speeds up the problem solving process, which is a direct benefit for the company as client issues can be solved faster. An important aspect of collaboration is the tools used to facilitate the process. David Bicknell writes in the Computer Weekly magazine “Collaborative tools can give that business advantage, unlock organization-wide and global intellect, and use that to foster the joined up thinking that will drive innovation" (Bicknell, 2009). The two main types of collaboration that can happen in the workplace are synchronous and asynchronous collaboration. When two or more people work together on a project at same time using tools like instant messaging, web conferencing and white boarding, it is considered synchronous collaboration. When they do so at different times using forums and message boards that is considered asynchronous collaboration (“Collaboration,” 2009). Effective collaboration can result in many benefits for the individuals or organizations involved. But for that to happen, the collaborating team has to have a common objective or goal and be made up of people with the right skill sets. They also need the resources, and an adequate environment or forum to collaborate in. Collaborating partners must be willing to engage in constructive confrontation, set up and abide by some ground rules and have a facilitator. However, as explained later in this paper, there are also some disadvantages that can result from collaborating at the workplace.

Advantages of Collaboration in the Workplace
Effective collaboration will have a positive impact on the business processes, relations, and communications within the organization. Mentioned below are some of the advantages that a company and its employees will experience when they successfully implement collaboration in the workplace. Collaboration Improves the Decision Making Process

Collaboration in the workplace ensures that all alternatives and ideas are evaluated before a decision or solution is arrived at. Sharing ideas leads to quicker solutions to complex problems. By bringing people and resources together through collaboration, organizations have found that complex problems tend to be resolved faster. Teams made up of individuals with the right skill sets would likely be very balanced in their perspectives. By brainstorming ideas and alternations, and making logical decisions based on facts and team objectives, collaboration teams can apply more effective critical thinking skills to the problem and decision making process. The use of feelings in the decision making process is replaced by logical analysis and fact finding. Teams also provide a comprehensive approach to problem solving that helps the organization stay focused on the common goal, as opposed to each employee doing so individually. Collaboration Improves Communication

Collaboration provides a forum for co-workers to communicate, both physically and virtually. In this age of advanced technology, with the help of cloud computing tools, collaboration has made communication among colleagues more effective and accessible. Virtual meetings, chat sessions, and e-mail have given employees access to a variety of tools they can use to improve internal communication at the workplace. In fact, meetings and conversations do not end with the close of business or when the computer is shut down. Even after-hours, conversations continue through Blackberries, iPhones, and...
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