Information About The Book!

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The Twenty Success Factors of Collaboration

Posted by on September 27, 2011

I’ve been doing a lot of research for the book I’m working on for McGraw Hill.  A part of that research isn’t just understanding emergent collaboration as it exists today in the era of all these new tools but also understanding collaboration at its core.  So, I’ve been researching and reading a lot about collaboration prior to the development of any of these tools to understand more of the human dynamics behind collaboration.  I graduated with a dual B.A. from UCSC and one of those B.A’s was in psychology so naturally understanding collaboration is both fun and interesting for me.

I wanted to share something I came across from a book called “Collaboration: What Makes It Work” by Paul W. Mattesich, Ph.D., Marta Murray-Close, B.A., Barbara R. Monsey, M.P.H, and the Wilder Research Center.

The book addresses the twenty success factors of collaboration as done through quite a bit of research.  These factors are grouped into 6 areas:

  1. Environment
  2. Membership characteristics
  3. Process and structure
  4. Communication
  5. Purpose
  6. Resources

Let’s take a look at each one of these 6 areas and the factors under reach:

  • A history of collaboration or cooperation in the community
  • Collaboration group seen as a legitimate leader in the community
  • Favorable political and social climate
Membership characteristics
  • Mutual respect, understanding, and trust
  • Appropriate cross section of the members
  • Members see collaboration as in their self-interest
  • Ability to compromise
Process and structure
  • Members share a stake in both the process and the outcome
  • Multiple layers of participation
  • Flexibility
  • Development of clear roles and policy guidelines
  • Adaptability
  • Appropriate pace of development
  • Open and frequent communication
  • Established informal relationships and communication links
  • Concrete, attainable goals and objectives
  • Shared vision
  • Unique purpose
  • Sufficient funds, staff, materials, and time
  • Skilled leadership

Keep in mind that this book was written before Jive, Socialtext, Tibbr, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social and emergent collaboration platforms that we know of today existed.  Which in my opinion makes these factors even more interesting and relevant because they don’t focus on technology.  Perhaps I will spend more time discussing each of these factors in more details in subsequent posts.

  • Thanks for this information. It is true that collaboration is must, as it gives good flexibility to work in several ways under different circumstances. Today, many of the business units are merging & collaboration has bought an affluent change in growth & economy of these units.

  • Thank you very much! I like this info… And the most important.. This is useful for me

  • Thank you for this interesting post.

  •  Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  • Hi Jacob,
    In honor of all your hard work and dedication. Cheers!

  • Jacob, I also would add to this something that comes from anthropology, the fringe. Collaboration also occurs on fringes of social groups where sense of community is at a higher level because people are marginalised or out of the mainstream so not point 2 in your environment bullet. This leads to forced collaboration by necessity. Often these people are brought together by weak links and the power of innovation is very strong. The advent of the PC in the very early years is a perfect example of this. It was a bunch of home brew tinkerers out of the mainstream who created some very powerfull collaboration. The development of microlithic technology can also be looked at from this perspective.
    Some good stuff though with many parallels in today’s economy.

    • Hi Robin,

      This is certainly an interesting point, collaboration for survival, never thought to address that but I think it makes complete sense, thanks for this!


  • Hey Jacob, I’ve been running digital team building events featuring team building and cross team collaboration for over 14 years, I’d like to see if my observations jive with yours and see if there are any points of collaboration with us as I’m looking for some research to back up my observations.  Thanks!