An Introduction

Collaboration as an Acquired Competency

Whilst there are strategic alliances and collaborative ventures that have endured for decades (e.g. AMIRA International - see and Austmine - see most collaborations have a shorter life-cycle. One SME Manager we encountered suggested a succession of brief liaisons was preferable to a long-term commitment.

European researchers 1) studying more than a decade of experience with large-scale collaborations characterised 21 different forms of collaboration. Some were relatively long term arrangements they called 'breeding environments' that helped identify future options for the participants, whilst others were short term arrangements associated with a specific project.

Some Collaboration Pre-requisites

Successful collaborations have a clear and simply stated goal, value proposition and basis of trust between the collaborators. Some necessary transactions represent an overhead cost, and there must be offsetting beneficial transactions.

Some Matters of Trust

Some research 2)) considering trust in an inter-organisational setting suggests there are three kinds of trust to consider:

  1. Contract-based trust
  2. Competency-based trust
  3. Goodwill-based trust

Trust as a risky business

In assigning a level of trust to another, one is making an assumption about future actions of that other.

Extracting Value from Collaboration

Enterprises may collaborate to stimulate business transactions, social transactions or knowledge transactions as illustrated below.

Modes of Collaboration

Collaborations may be formed to achieve a short-term goal, then disbanded, or to pursue longer term goals, being adapted as needed.

1) Camarinha-Matos, L.M; Afsarmanesh, H; Ermilova, E; Ferrada and Abreu, A (2007) “A reference model for collaborative networks” ECOLEAD Project Report D52.3 (www.veforum. org/projects/284/Deliverables/D52.3_final.pdf, last accessed February 10 2010
2) Sako, M., Helper, S.: Determinants of trust in supplier relations: Evidence from the automotive industry in Japan and the United States. Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisations 34, 387–417 (1998
Last modified: 2012/11/19 20:11