When working with others to produce stellar results, whether it’s a project team, your departmental co-workers, or a cross-discipline committee, collaboration quickly becomes a key skill. When considering team effectiveness, it can be useful to evaluate results, process, and relationships as three separate but equally important factors.
These factors are a core component of curriculum materials used in Stanford's leadership development classes and programs, submitted by Julie Turchin in Learning & Organizational Effectiveness:
Advice from Graduate School of Education Professor Daniel McFarland, Professor of Sociology and Organizational Behavior (by courtesy), as published in Stanford Business on March 25, 2014, includes insights on how professors form and sustain beneficial collaborations over time. He recalls that his own time limitations and competing research projects led him to have interest in how teams, professional relationships and related connections are manifested. Read more about Professor McFarland's research in the full article: "What is the Secret to a Happy Collaboration?"
Jeffrey Pfeffer, Thomas D. Dee II Professor in the Graduate School of Business, and Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Science & Engineering and, by courtesy, of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business have written about collaboration vs. competition within organizations for many years. In "The Perils of Internal Competition" from 1999, they write that "management practices that emphasize competition are so common..." and that "Each of these practices creates a zero-sum situation where the success or rewards of one person or department must come at the expense of another." Competition at the expense of collaboration can result in a lose-lose situation in the workplace. In 2005, Professor Pfeffer wrote "Untested Assumptions May Have a Big Effect," which reviewed how critical the mindset of senior leaders can be when implementing the practices that define organizations, which applies to how collaborative or competitive an organization is.
This year, Professor Pfeffer posted a video, "Power and How to Get It," which includes insights on social relationships, a critical component of collaboration in the workplace.
Want to build your collaboration skills? Here are some on-campus options:
If you’ve had a positive collaboration experience in the workplace and have additional tips to share, please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.