Although everybody has an intuitive notion of what collaboration is, this concept is often confused with cooperation. For many people, the two terms are indistinguishable. Even when a distinction is made, there are many different uses of the term collaboration in the current literature. The ambiguities reach a higher level when other related terms are considered such as networking, communication, and coordination (Denise, 1999; Grosz, 1996; Himmelman, 2001; Pollard, 2005). Although each one of these concepts is an important component of collaboration, they are not of equal value; neither one is equivalent to it.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Collaboration Process: A number of generic steps of collaboration.
Collaboration Space: An environment to enable and facilitate the collaboration processes.
Networking: Consists of establishing connections among people or organizations through ICT networks for communication and exchange of information.
Coordinated Networking: The act of working in joint harmony through the alignment of activities in order to achieve more efficient results.
Cooperation: Working apart in complementary activities but with some coordination and information exchange towards the achievement of compatible goals; it might involve some resources sharing.
Collaboration Requirement: A precondition for collaboration.
Collaboration Purpose: A joint goal or problem to be solved in collaboration.
Collaboration: Working together/creating together towards the achievement of a joint goal, that is, a process in which participating entities share information, resources, and responsibilities to jointly plan, execute, and evaluate a program of activities to achieve a common goal.