Extending collaboration toward cooperation

How are workers currently using social tools? Mostly for internal collaboration, according to an Ipsos study commissioned by Microsoft to survey 9,908 global information workers about how they use social tools to get work done, available at The Worldwide Watercooler.

wwwatercooler social media useNotice how these stated uses generally align with the collaborative & cooperative competencies I identified in my post on cooperation in the networked workplace.

enterprise social toolsA mixed productivity tool set can help to support these activities, as I noted in my post on social tools.

MS cooperation collaborationAs Bill Laberis discusses in a short video, “Just as giving workers Internet access a generation ago wasn’t about sitting around surfing the web, enabling workers with enterprise social is not about their lingering on Facebook all day”. This is reinforced by the results of the Ipsos study. Most people want to be collaborative as well as cooperative in order to do better work.

So we have a good idea that many workers use social tools internally, with customers, or for professional development. We also have a lens to see if our tools are covering the spectrum of collaboration plus cooperation. Cooperation differs from collaboration in that it is sharing freely without any expectation of reciprocation or reward. Collaboration is just getting things done; important but not sufficient. Cooperation drives the extended enterprise — customers, suppliers, partners, and anyone else touched by the business.

As work gets more complex and value less tangible, extending collaboration toward cooperation, across boundaries and silos, will ensure that workers stay connected and adaptable to changing conditions. Collaboration is great when the business objectives are clear, but cooperation will ensure organizational resilience as markets get smarter and faster.

While better collaboration can justify social tools, improved cooperation can ensure their long-term use by a hyper-connected workforce. Smart enterprises should support both.

This post was sponsored by Microsoft Office 365 – I retained editorial control and take full responsibility for what is posted. Contract writing is one of the ways I make my living.

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