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To collaborate or not to collaborate?….

beesEvery single book I am reading for my disseration seems to have a checklist of buzzwords around social media and internal comms: engagement – check, motivation – check, knowledge management – check, cross-silo networks – check, end-user engagement – check.

But the biggest and baddest of them all is collaboration. It apears to me that if in doubt, whack the word collaboration in, and your reader has no choice but to nod their head in an agreeing manner – as no one can doubt collaboration can they?

I’ve just spent the past hour trying to find a succint definition that not only wraps up what collaboration is but also why it is important to businesses. And I just had a eureka moment, hurrah! – came across the following…

According to Nutt (2004), evidence suggests that collaboration is not simply a means of developing a competitive advantage, but an actual business imperative.

Well that certainly helps stack up my theories but I wonder what it means ‘in real life’ for corporations.

I’m not saying that collaboration is a bad thing, in fact I think the complete opposite – it is incredibly exciting to think of the possibilities social media tools bring organisations – particularly those with remote workforces separated by geography and time. Linking night-workers in tunnels and day-workers in offices together through joined-up internal communications platforms can never be a bad thing.

I love that regardless of your working pattern, shift time, technical knowledge and literacy level, that there are tools out there to unify employees as one company. Bringing employees together, either face-to-face or virtually to help gather their knowledge and educate each other is arguably becoming easier as our world becomes smaller through the use of travel, communication and technology. Benefits-a-plenty through the wonder of collaboration.

Ref: Nutt, P.C. (2004). Expanding the Search for Alternatives during Strategic Decision-Making. Academy of Management Executive (18:4), November 2004, pp 13-28.

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