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Collaboration

Collaboration

[kuh-lab-uh-rey-shuhn]
Collaboration is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together toward an intersection of common goals — for example, an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature—by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. Collaboration does not require leadership and can sometimes bring better results through decentralization and egalitarianism. In particular, teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources.

Structured methods of collaboration encourage introspection of behavior and communication. These methods specifically aim to increase the success of teams as they engage in collaborative problem solving. Forms, rubrics, charts and graphs are useful in these situations to objectively document personal traits with the goal of improving performance in current and future projects.

Since the Second World War the term "Collaboration" acquired a very negative meaning as referring to persons and groups which help a foreign occupier of their country—due to actual use by people in European countries who worked with and for the Nazi German occupiers. Linguistically, "collaboration" implies more or less equal partners who work together—which is obviously not the case when one party is an army of occupation and the other are people of the occupied country living under the power of this army.

In order to make a distinction, the more specific term "Collaborationism" is often used for this phenomenon of collaboration with an occupying army. However, there is no water-tight distinction; "Collaboration" and "Collaborator", as well as "Collaborationism" and "Collaborationist", are often used in this pejorative sense—and even more so, the equivalent terms in French and other languages spoken in countries which experienced direct Nazi occupation.

History

Following are some examples of successful collaboration efforts in the past.

Trade

Trade originated with the start of communication in prehistoric times. Trading was the main facility of prehistoric people, who bartered goods and services from each other when there was no such thing as the modern day currency. Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago.

Trade exists for many reasons. Due to specialisation and division of labor, most people concentrate on a small aspect OF production, trading for other products. Trade exists between regions because different regions have a comparative advantage in the production of some tradable commodity, or because different regions' size allows for the benefits of mass production. As such, trade at market prices between locations benefits both locations.

Community organization

An intentional community is a planned residential community designed to promote a much higher degree of social interaction than other communities. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political or spiritual vision. They also share responsibilities and resources. Intentional communities include cohousing, residential land trusts, ecovillages, communes, kibbutzim, ashrams, and housing cooperatives. Typically, new members of an intentional community are selected by the community's existing membership, rather than by real-estate agents or land owners (if the land is not owned by the community).Hutterite, Austria (1500s)

Hutterites practice a near-total community of goods: all property is owned by the colony, and provisions for individual members and their families come from the common resources. This practice is based largely on Hutterite interpretation of passages in chapters 2, 4, and 5 of Acts, which speak of the believers "having all things in common". Thus the colony owns and operates its buildings and equipment like a corporation. Housing units are built and assigned to individual families but belong to the colony and there is very little personal property. Meals are taken by the entire colony in a common long room.Oneida Community, Oneida, New York (1848)
The Oneida Community practiced Communalism (in the sense of communal property and possessions) and Mutual Criticism, where every member of the community was subject to criticism by committee or the community as a whole, during a general meeting. The goal was to eliminate bad character traits.Early Kibbutz settlements founded near Jerusalem (1890)
A Kibbutz is an Israeli collective community. The movement combines socialism and Zionism in a form of practical Labor Zionism, founded at a time when independent farming was not practical or perhaps more correctly—not practicable. Forced by necessity into communal life, and inspired by their own ideology, the kibbutz members developed a pure communal mode of living that attracted interest from the entire world. While the kibbutzim lasted for several generations as utopian communities, most of today's kibbutzim are scarcely different from the capitalist enterprises and regular towns to which the kibbutzim were originally supposed to be alternatives.

Related art topics

Game theory

Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics and economics that looks at situations where multiple players make decisions in an attempt to maximize their returns. The first documented discussion of it is a letter written by James Waldegrave in 1713. Antoine Augustin Cournot's Researches into the Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth in 1838 provided the first general theory. It was not until 1928 that this became a recognized, unique field when John von Neumann published a series of papers. Von Neumann's work in game theory culminated in the 1944 book The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior by von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern. In 1950, the first discussion of the prisoner's dilemma appeared, and an experiment was undertaken on this game at the RAND corporation.

Military-industrial complex

The term military-industrial complex refers to a close and symbiotic relationship among a nation's armed forces, its private industry, and associated political and commercial interests. In such a system, the military is dependent on industry to supply material and other support, while the defense industry depends on government for revenue. Skunk Works
Skunk Works is a term used in engineering and technical fields to describe a group within an organization given a high degree of autonomy and unhampered by bureaucracy, tasked with working on advanced or secret projects. Founded at Lockheed Martin in 1943, the team developed highly innovative aircraft in short time frames, even beating its first deadline by 37 days. Creator of the organization, Kelly Johnson is said to have been an 'organizing genius' and had fourteen basic operating rules.Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was the project to develop the first nuclear weapon (atomic bomb) during World War II by the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Formally designated as the Manhattan Engineer District (MED), it refers specifically to the period of the project from 1941–1946 under the control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, under the administration of General Leslie R. Groves. The scientific research was directed by American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer.
While the aforementioned persons were influential in the project itself, the value of this project as an influence on organized collaboration is better attributed to Vannevar Bush. In early 1940, bush lobbied for the creation of the National Defense Research Committee. Frustrated by previous bureaucratic failures in implementing technology in World War I, Bush sought to organize the scientific power of the United States for greater success.
The project succeeded in developing and detonating three nuclear weapons in 1945: a test detonation of a plutonium implosion bomb on July 16 (the Trinity test) near Alamogordo, New Mexico; an enriched uranium bomb code-named "Little Boy" on August 6 over Hiroshima, Japan; and a second plutonium bomb, code-named "Fat Man" on August 9 over Nagasaki, Japan.

Project management

As a discipline, Project Management developed from different fields of application including construction, engineering, and defense. In the United States, the forefather of project management is Henry Gantt, called the father of planning and control techniques, who is famously known for his use of the "bar" chart as a project management tool, for being an associate of Frederick Winslow Taylor's theories of scientific management, and for his study of the work and management of Navy ship building. His work is the forerunner to many modern project management tools including the work breakdown structure (WBS) and resource allocation.

The 1950s marked the beginning of the modern project management era. Again, in the United States, prior to the 1950s, projects were managed on an ad hoc basis using mostly Gantt charts, and informal techniques and tools. At that time, two mathematical project scheduling models were developed: (1) the "Program Evaluation and Review Technique" or PERT, developed as part of the United States Navy's (in conjunction with the Lockheed Corporation) Polaris missile submarine program; and (2) the "Critical Path Method" (CPM) developed in a joint venture by both DuPont Corporation and Remington Rand Corporation for managing plant maintenance projects. These mathematical techniques quickly spread into many private enterprises.

In 1969, the Project Management Institute (PMI) was formed to serve the interest of the project management industry. The premise of PMI is that the tools and techniques of project management are common even among the widespread application of projects from the software industry to the construction industry. In 1981, the PMI Board of Directors authorized the development of what has become A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), containing the standards and guidelines of practice that are widely used throughout the profession. The International Project Management Association (IPMA), founded in Europe in 1967, has undergone a similar development and instituted the IPMA Project Baseline. Both organizations are now participating in the development of a global project management standard.

Art Groups

Fluxus
An international network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines in the 1960s. Fluxus encouraged a do it yourself aesthetic, and valued simplicity over complexity. Like Dada before it, Fluxus included a strong current of anti-commercialism and an anti-art sensibility, disparaging the conventional market-driven art world in favor of an artist-centered creative practice. As Fluxus artist Robert Filliou wrote, however, Fluxus differed from Dada in its richer set of aspirations, and the positive social and communitarian aspirations of Fluxus far outweighed the anti-art tendency that also marked the group.Situationist International
The Situationist International (SI) was a small group of international political and artistic agitators with roots in Marxism, Lettrism and the early 20th century European artistic and political avant-gardes. Formed in 1957, the SI was active in Europe through the 1960s and aspired to major social and political transformations. In the 1960s it split into a number of different groups, including the Situationist Bauhaus, the Antinational and the Second Situationist International. The first SI disbanded in 1972.

Feminism

California State University, Fresno (Feminist Art Movement)
In 1970, by Judy Chicago founded a feminist art education programCalifornia Institute of the Arts (Feminist Art Movement)
In 1971, Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro founded a feminist art education programWoman's Building (Feminist Art Movement)
The Woman's Building was a non-profit public art and educational center focused on showcasing women's art and culture. It existed in Los Angeles from 1973 to 1991. Womanhouse, an installation organized by this center in 1972, encouraged participants to work together.

Back-to-the-land movement

  • 1960s, 1970s—beginning in the USA, this is a movement generally known to be from 'hippies.'

Academia

Black Mountain College
Founded in 1933 by John Andrew Rice, Theodore Dreier and other former faculty of Rollins College, Black Mountain was experimental by nature and committed to an interdisciplinary approach, attracting a faculty which included many of America's leading visual artists, poets, and designers.
Operating in a relatively isolated rural location with little budget, Black Mountain College inculcated an informal and collaborative spirit, and over its lifetime attracted a venerable roster of instructors. Some of the innovations, relationships and unexpected connections formed at Black Mountain would prove to have a lasting influence on the postwar American art scene, high culture, and eventually pop culture. Buckminster Fuller met student Kenneth Snelson at Black Mountain, and the result was the first geodesic dome (improvised out of slats in the school's back yard); Merce Cunningham formed his dance company; and John Cage staged his first happening.
Not a haphazardly conceived venture, Black Mountain College was a consciously directed liberal arts school that grew out of the progressive education movement. In its day it was a unique educational experiment for the artists and writers who conducted it, and as such an important incubator for the American avant garde. Black Mountain proved to be an important precursor to and prototype for many of the alternative colleges of today ranging from the University of California, Santa Cruz to Hampshire College and Evergreen State College, among others.
Organizing GeniusLearning Community

Dr. Wolff-Michael Roth and Stuart Lee of the University of Victoria assert that until the early 1990s the individual was the 'unit of instruction' and the focus of research. The two observed that researchers and practitioners switched to the idea that knowing is 'better' thought of as a cultural practice. Roth and Lee also claim that this led to changes in learning and teaching design in which students were encouraged to share their ways of doing mathematics, history, science, with each other. In other words, that children take part in the construction of consensual domains, and 'participate in the negotiation and institutionalisation of … meaning'. In effect, they are participating in learning communities.
This analysis does not take account of the appearance of Learning communities in the United States in the early 1980s. For example, The Evergreen State College, which is widely considered a pioneer in this area, established an intercollegiate learning community in 1984. In 1985, this same college established the Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education, which focuses on collaborative education approaches, including learning communities as one of its centerpieces.

Contemporary examples

Arts

Collaboration—or joint production by two or more artists—is a common style among musicians and performance artists. It has not been so popular, on the other hand, in the world of art, and especially in modern art. But the strong sense of individualism long possessed by artists of fine art began to wane around the 1960s, and some artists working in units have emerged and become widely known along with the development of new media based on the advances in information technology. They have changed the concept of art into something that can be engaged in by more than individual artists alone.

Business

Collaboration in business can be found both inter- and intra-organization and ranges from the simplicity of a partnership to the complexity of a multinational corporation.

See also : Management cybernetics, TAROBY

Collaboration between European companies has been encouraged by the European Commission, which has funded projects such as www.smecollaborate.com

Education

Generally defined, an Educational Collaborative Partnership is ongoing involvement between schools and business/industry, unions, governments and community organizations. Educational Collaborative Partnerships are established by mutual agreement between two or more parties to work together on projects and activities that will enhance the quality of education for students while improving skills critical to success in the workplace.

Collaboration in Education- two or more co-equal individual voluntarily brings their knowledge and experience together by interacting toward a common goal in the best interest of students for the betterment of their education success.

See also : Collaborative Partnerships: Business/Industry-Education

Music

Musical collaboration occurs when musicians in different places or groups work on the same album or song. Collaboration between musicians, especially with regards to jazz, is often heralded as the epitome of complex collaborative practice. Special software has been written to facilitate musical collaboration over the Internet, such as VSTunnel Websites have also been created to enable creative music collaboration over the Internet.

Several awards exist specifically for collaboration in music:

Publishing

Collaboration in publishing can be as simple as dual-authorship or as complex as commons-based peer production. Technological examples include Usenet, e-mail lists, blogs and Wikis while 'brick and mortar' examples include monographs (books) and periodicals such as newspapers, journals and magazines.

Science

Though there is no political institution organizing the sciences on an international level, a self-organized, global network had formed in the late 20th century. Observed by the rise in co-authorships in published papers, Wagner and Leydesdorff found international collaborations to have doubled from 1990 to 2005. While collaborative authorships within nations has also risen, this has done so at a slower rate and is not cited as frequently. Caroline S. Wagner has published a book on international collaboration in science, The New Invisible College: Science for Development, that offers a theory of collaboration in science.

Technology

Both as entertainment and as a problem-solving tool, collaboration in technology encompasses video games, distributed computing, knowledge sharing and communication tools. Many large companies are developing enterprise collaboration strategies and standardizing on a collaboration platform.

Collaboration in the technology sector refers to a wide variety of tools that enable groups of people to work together. Collaboration encompasses both asynchronous and synchronous methods of communication and serves as an umbrella-term for a wide variety of software packages. Perhaps the most commonly associated form of synchronous collaboration is web conferencing using tools such as Microsoft Live Meeting but the term can easily be applied to Instant Messaging as well. Examples of asynchronous collaboration software include Microsoft Sharepoint.The Internet

The low cost and nearly instantaneous sharing of ideas, knowledge, and skills has made collaborative work dramatically easier. Not only can a group cheaply communicate and test, but the wide reach of the Internet allows such groups to easily form in the first place, even among niche interests. An example of this is the free software movement in software development which produced GNU and Linux from scratch and has taken over development of Mozilla and OpenOffice.org (formerly known as Netscape Communicator and StarOffice).Commons-based peer production
Commons-based peer production is a term coined by Yale's Law professor Yochai Benkler to describe a new model of economic production in which the creative energy of large numbers of people is coordinated (usually with the aid of the internet) into large, meaningful projects, mostly without traditional hierarchical organization or financial compensation. He compares this to firm production (where a centralized decision process decides what has to be done and by whom) and market-based production (when tagging different prices to different jobs serves as an attractor to anyone interested in doing the job).
Examples of products created by means of commons-based peer production include Linux, a computer operating system; Slashdot, a news and announcements website; Kuro5hin, a discussion site for technology and culture; Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia; and Clickworkers, a collaborative scientific work. Another example is Socialtext which is a software that uses tools such as wikis and weblogs and helps companies to create a collaborative work environment.Massively distributed collaboration:The term massively distributed collaboration was coined by Mitchell Kapor, in a presentation at UC Berkeley on 2005-11-09, to describe an emerging activity of wikis and electronic mailing lists and blogs and other content-creating virtual communities online.

See also

References

Further reading

  • Lewin, Bruce. "The Tension in Collaboration".
  • Marcum, James W. After the Information Age: A Dynamic Learning Manifesto. Vol. 231. Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education. New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2006.
  • Sandor Schuman (Editor). Creating a Culture of Collaboration. Jossey-Bass, 2006. ISBN 0-7879-8116-8
  • Schneider, Florian: Collaboration: Some Thoughts Concerning New Ways of Learning and Working Together., in: Academy, edited by Angelika Nollert and Irit Rogoff, 280 pages, Revolver Verlag, ISBN 3-86588-303-6.
  • Spence, Muneera U. "Graphic Design Collaborative Processes: a Course in Collaboration." Oregon State University. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: AIGA, 2005. http://revolutionphiladelphia.aiga.org/resources/content/2/5/7/0/documents/MSpence.pdf
  • VanGundy, Arthur B, and Naiman, Linda. [Orchestrating Collaboration at Work:Using music, improv, storytelling and other arts to improve teamwork] 278 pages. Booksurge Publishing 2007 ISBN-13: 978-1419651748. Originally published by Wiley 2003.
  • Wagner, Caroline S. "The New Invisible College: Science for Development." Washington DC: The Brookings Press, 2008.

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