The Impact of Collaboration on Teams Performance in Organizations
An increase in entrepreneurship, globalization, and liberalization of local markets has exposed firms to intensive competition. As a result, the businesses are forced to research on alternatives to increase their productivity, save costs, and optimize profit margins. One of the strategies to facilitate realization of these goals is by encouraging team working. According to Chiocchio et al. (2012) team work is the deliberate and strategic process through which employees make collaborative efforts to achieve a common objective or goal. The efficiency and effectiveness of teams is equivalent to their level of collaboration. It is therefore necessary that organizations understand how collaboration impacts on the performance of teams.
This research purposes to critically analyze the impact of collaboration on the performance of teams in organizations.
What are the impacts of collaboration on the performance of teams in organizations?
This research is guided by two main objectives.
- The first objective is to identify the positive impacts of collaboration on team performance.
- The second objective seeks to evaluate the negative impacts of collaboration on the performance of groups.
Research gap and contribution
As much as there is extensive literature on teamwork and performance, the topic on the impact of collaboration is less explored. Most literature focus on the bigger picture of team work while ignoring the significance of collaborations in fostering the in-group perception required to heighten engagement and productivity of the teams. In fact, some authors use collaboration and team work as synonyms, which should not be the case (Assbeihat, 2016). By conducting this research, it will fill a research gap by identifying negative and positive impacts of collaboration on the performance of groups. Likewise, it reinforces the view that collaboration is a significant part of teamwork that should be fostered to enhance team efficiency. These findings are handy given the current restrictions arising from the global health pandemic necessitating work-from-home arrangements and formation of virtual teams.
A team refers to two or more individuals who agree to work interdependently towards achieving common objectives. In the organizational setup, teams could range from service teams, production teams, project teams, advisory teams, virtual teams, and management teams among others. According to Chiocchio et al. (2012) there are three vital measures of team performance namely; the ability for the teams to satisfy set goals, satisfaction among members and their commitment to achieving the group goals. The ability to optimize team performance is directly proportionate to the level of collaboration among team members.
Other factors that affect team performance include personality, attitude, and cognitive abilities of the team members, team diversity, team competency, team characteristics, and motivation among other factors. This statement challenges the previous argument noting that collaboration is the most basic determinant of team work. In support of this dissenting view, Assbeihat (2016) argues that collaboration does not always enhance team performance. Assbeihat argues that in some cases, lack of collaboration could motivate the group to perform better. As much as this statement is true, its applicability could be limited to some factors. Especially when the rest of the group members are determined to pass the message that they could still perform in an environment that is turbulent and non-collaborative.
Various researches have presented findings on collaboration and its impact on group performance. Workplace collaboration refers to a situation where groups of individuals come together to solve common challenges. Teams that collaborate to jointly work on projects have proven to share different perspectives, ideas, and expertise which contributes towards innovative solutions. Cromwell and Gardner (2020) expounds on this literature by discussing the importance of collaboration in the workplace. The author states that one of the leading factors that contribute to success of organizations is the ability for its employees to work together in teams. Assbeihat (2016) adds that the increase in competition is forcing businesses to encourage innovativeness and creativity.
One of the best way to achieving this goal is by creating a work environment where people can collaborate and work in teams. Interdependency arising from intensive collaboration not only promotes healthy relationship and engagement among employees, but also improves the overall productivity of the business (Assbeihat, 2016). Working in teams enables specialization where each employee focuses on areas of expertise. This approach enables them to work faster and efficiently compared to those working as individuals. In addition, it is proven that collaboration increases the level of responsiveness among employees. This helps elevate the levels of motivation among team members.
Landon, Slack and Barrett (2018) presents a novel dimension by noting that in the modern workplace, virtual collaboration and team working is defined by sharing of files through cloud-based programs and communication which enables employees to work remotely yet in teams. The authors adds that the most important aspects of collaboration in traditional and virtual teams include providing value, equal partaking of duties, and brainstorming. The article adds that organizations should encourage collaboration since it positively impacts output by promoting self-analysis.
Self-analysis occurs when the teams act as a mirror upon which an individual gauges their weaknesses and strengths. They can then use their strengths to better the team while their weaknesses are compensated by the strengths of another team member. The second reason why businesses should encourage collaboration is because it helps solve complex problems. This point acknowledges that have a pool of employees with diverse talents is important in coming up with innovative solutions to complex challenges (Cromwell & Gardner, 2020). Other benefits of working in collaboration is that the members learn from each other and additionally, the members offer emotional support to each other thus bettering their wellbeing.
Jain and Moreno (2015) second these sentiments noting that collaboration among team members facilitates development of skills, pooling of strengths and talent, and speeding up solutions. From an organizational perspective, collaborative teams increase efficiency of doing work. As a result, projects are completed faster and within time (Bond-Barnard, Fletcher & Steyn, 2018). Secondly, the organizations create an environment of trust where employees are interdependent. Such an atmosphere heightens job satisfaction and employee retention.
As evident in the previous section, collaboration improves team performance, however, Hu et al. (2017) present divergent views. These author laments that when collaboration is not properly managed, it could lead to conflicting interests among team members. Such conflicts are explained using Bruce Tuckman’s group formation theory. This model posits that group formation occurs in five stages; forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning (Black et al. 2019). The storming stage is usually the most turbulent thus, when expectations are not properly managed, they could destabilize efforts to create collaborative teams. Other disadvantages of collaboration on teams include stronger and a united voice such as labor unions. Employees who collaborate against certain policies might compromise the ability for the business to meet its goals.
To solve these challenges, Abubakar, Elrehail, Alatailat and ElçI (2019) propose that workplaces nurture a culture of accountability and responsibility. Secondly, the management has to provide ICT tools to ease communication and sharing of knowledge (Scott & Queen’s, 2017). The management also should introduce clear guidelines on the nature of collaboration among teams to ensure focused approach to issues.
This research was objective in identifying the positive and negative impacts of collaboration on the performance of groups. To achieve this objective, the methodology was designed to collect qualitative data to support the making of findings. For this research, secondary research was conducted. The process involved collecting information from primary sources of data. Most of the information was collected from digital databases and physical books from the library. The most useful databases include Google Scholar and Ebscohost. The research used team performance as the dependent variable. Collaboration was the independent variable.
The findings collected exposed the positive and negative impacts of collaboration on the performance of teams in the workplace. A previous research by Hall et al. (2018) expressed that collaboration mostly created positive impacts than the negative impacts. Collaboration enabled the team members to brainstorm and partake in tasks in which they were most competent. This enabled them to be more productive thus contributing towards improved performance of the organization. Assbeihat (2016) found that organizations need to set structures and culture and encourage collaboration as it was vital in stimulating positive self-analysis and solving complex problems. Jain and Moreno (2015) identified that collaboration in teams encouraged knowledge sharing which is an important attribute of firms with sustainable competitive advantage. Assbeihat (2016) acknowledges that collaboration is important as it creates a pool of talent with diverse knowledge and skills that contributes towards better decisions and solutions to problems. These benefits increase the efficiency of the organization and enhances their job satisfaction.
Study limitation and future research
The main limitation was the inability to go to the field and conduct an actual research. This is because of the government regulations regarding movement. In addition, the short time period for conducting the research limited the ability to conduct a primary research using the survey monkey online tool. Future research should exclusively focus on analyzing the impact of collaboration on performance of virtual teams
Conclusion and recommendation
This research justifies that collaboration creates more benefits than the negative impacts on the performance of teams. As a result, it is recommended that businesses nurture a culture that encourages collaboration among its employees. The culture has to be accompanied by clear guidelines stipulating the extent and nature of collaboration to prevent instances where employees abuse the privileges of collaboration.
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Hu, N., Chen, Z., Gu, J., Huang, S., & Liu, H. (2017). Conflict and creativity in inter-organizational teams. International Journal of Conflict Management. Retrieved from: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2017-08554-004
Jain, A. K., & Moreno, A. (2015). Organizational learning, knowledge management practices and firm’s performance. The Learning Organization.
Landon, L. B., Slack, K. J., & Barrett, J. D. (2018). Teamwork and collaboration in long-duration space missions: Going to extremes. American Psychologist, 73(4), 563.
Scott, B. B., & Queen’s, I. R. C. (2017). Creating a Collaborative Workplace: Amplifying Teamwork in Your Organization. Retrieved from: https://irc.queensu.ca/sites/request/articles/creating-a-collaborative-workplace-amplifying-teamwork-in-your-organization.pdf