Examples of poor collaboration (+5 reasons)

In this article, we shall look at the different examples of poor collaboration and how organizations can fix them. We shall also explain the various reasons why poor collaboration occurs in a team and how it can affect an organization. Without effective collaboration, organizations can fail at their goals, even if they have great products and leaders.

Examples of poor collaboration

Some common examples of poor collaboration in the workplace are given below:

  • Inefficient use of collaboration tools
  • There is no autonomy
  • Too many collaboration tools
  • Frequent groupthink in the team
  • Too many emails
  • Less participation during meetings
  • Unequal workloads
  • Conflicts in the organization
  • High turnover rates
  • Team members passing on responsibility

When collaboration fails in the workplace, the organization faces a lack of productivity and failure to reach milestones as a result. Many successful organizations repeatedly give collaboration as the reason for their success and profitability. The various examples of poor collaboration are discussed in detail below:

Inefficient use of collaboration tools

Online collaboration tools are increasingly being used by organizations to facilitate communication and interaction between the employees. These collaboration tools don’t only help in communication but also in file sharing and project management. However, if employees are not trained to use these tools properly, it can lead to further inefficient collaborative practices.

There is no autonomy

Many times in organizations, the employees are ready to go ahead with the task or project, having also arranged the right resources and people for it. And yet, they are not able to make a move as they haven’t received the command. This leads to waste of time and money for the organization. This is another example of poor collaboration where there is no autonomy given.

Too many collaboration tools

Some organizations use multiple collaboration tools in order to serve their needs. One tool may be used for communication, another one to access and store files and yet another one for task management. This shows poor collaboration in the organization and can further affect employees in the form of collaboration overload.

Frequent groupthink in the team

When there is too much groupthink in the team, it can be a sign that the collaboration is not practiced effectively. Groupthink often happens because team members are afraid to give suggestions and opinions. It can also happen when there is no motivation  among the team members.

Too many emails

While some organizations face issues due to the presence of too many collaboration tools, others face problems because of the lack of one. Many companies still use email as their primary form of communication. This can lead to flooded inboxes and also too many duplicate copies or multiple versions of the same file.

Less participation during meetings

A healthy collaborative atmosphere encourages employees to be actively engaged and highly participative during team meetings. This can promote the generation of new ideas, as well as creating opportunities for feedback and suggestions. However, poor collaboration can decrease the employee participation in meetings, leading to a loss for the organization.

Unequal workloads

A common scenario in many ineffective organizations is some employees being very busy throughout the day and others relaxing on the job. When there is an unequal workload in the team, it can make employees greatly unmotivated and uninspired to take part in the work process. The main culprit of unequal workloads in teams is poor collaboration.

Conflicts in the organization

Bad collaborative practices can also lead to conflicts in the organization. Conflicts may arise occasionally in any organization. In order to avoid lingering resentments in the employees and future disruptions in the work process, the conflicts need to be resolved quickly. When there is poor collaboration, conflicts become more common and can go unresolved for a long time.

High turnover rates

Many research studies claim that employees are highly satisfied at organizations with good collaborative practices. They also stay at these organizations for longer periods of time. Due to its negative effects in the work environment, poor collaboration demotivates employees and thus there is high turnover in the organization.

Team members passing on responsibility

When employees feel supported and encouraged by the management and leaders, they take on more responsibility and projects outside of their comfort zones. However, when there is poor collaboration in the organization, employees pass on responsibility as there is a culture of fear in the workplace.

Why does poor collaboration occur?

Poor collaboration can occur in an organization due to many reasons. Some of these reasons are:

Lack of awareness about collaboration

When there is a lack of awareness about collaboration and the benefits it will bring to the organization, it can lead to poor collaboration in the organization. It can also lead to inefficient collaborative practices in the workplace. Team leaders need to create proper awareness about collaboration and also the expectations before they implement it.

Poor flexibility in the organization

Organizations need to give employees flexibility and adaptability in their work processes. When employees have flexibility in choosing their hours and their modes of work, it can lead to better collaborative practices. However, if there is no flexibility in the organization employees may not be supportive of the collaboration strategies.

No time for collaborative activities

If the work structure in the organization does not allow any time for collaborative practices, it can hamper teamwork between employees. Collaboration requires time and effort for various activities such as team discussions for brainstorming and problem-solving. Collaboration also requires time for decision making as it needs everyone’s participation in the process.

Improper organizational structure

Some organizational structures simply do not encourage collaboration. This is particularly in reference to traditional organizations which have many levels of hierarchy. These levels may not have much interaction between them other than dispersing instructions and orders. In addition, they also don’t allow access to information, thus hampering the collaboration.

Unclear goals for collaboration

When the team members are not clear about the goals of the collaborative practices, it can further create a roadblock in the process. Team members need to be clear about the goals and the real purpose behind the collaboration so that they know what is expected from them. They would not only need to know the shared goal but also their individual goals and roles.

Effects of poor collaboration in an organization

When there is poor collaboration in an organization, it can lead to many adverse effects. A few examples of these are:

  • There is no mutual trust between the team members
  • Precious company time may be wasted or mismanaged
  • The employee morale and job satisfaction is low
  • There can be many security risks for the organization
  • The team cohesion is weak
  • Deadlines are missed or work process becomes inefficient



In this article, we have looked at the different examples of poor collaboration and how organizations can fix them. We have also explained the various reasons why poor collaboration occurs in a team and how it can affect an organization.

Frequently asked questions: (what are examples of poor collaboration?)

What are some of the negative aspects of collaboration?

While collaboration is an amazing element to implement in an organization, it can sometimes turn disadvantageous. This happens mostly when the collaborative practices are not that effective and improperly implemented. It can also happen when the team structure cannot support collaboration. Some of the negative aspects of collaboration are:

Too much time wasted on collaboration

Collaborative efforts require time and effort in order to be effective. Since it requires a lot of inputs from various team members, the process of decision-making or problem-solving can become quite long. Some collaborative activities like team-building can also take up company times, leading to a loss of money for the company.

Ambiguous roles

Collaboration, just like any other process is a project. And it requires every team member to play an individual role. However, some of these roles may not be clear and thus the team members will not be highly motivated to perform them. The roles may also be ones that team members are uncomfortable with, leading to further demotivation and lack of participation.


Information is great and needs to be easily accessed in an organization. Flatter organizational structures and online collaboration tools enable easy and quick access to information for employees from all levels. However, there is such a thing called too much information and this can become daunting for team members.

Fear culture seeps in

Though collaboration encourages all the team members to participate actively in the process and generate ideas and suggestions, there still might be hesitancy to do so. This happens mainly because team members are afraid of instigating conflicts and differences of opinion. Collaboration can thus lead to employees holding back valuable criticism and feedback.

Accountability issues

Since collaboration promotes a feeling of brotherhood and love in the work atmosphere, team members may not like to disturb this comfortable bubble. While doing so, they might not hold others accountable for their mistakes with the fear of disrupting the team spirit. In this manner, accountability falters and thus the work process can lose its quality.

Collaboration overloads

Collaboration requires a lot of interaction and communication between team members, particularly using digital technology. Digital collaboration tools definitely help in making work a lot easier for team members. However, when too many tools are used or when the incorrect tool is used in the organization, it can lead to employee burnouts through collaboration overloads.

When should you not collaborate?

Believe it or not, there are times when you should discourage collaboration in a team. Encouraging collaboration in these situations can lead to negative effects in the team and the organization as a whole. Situations where you should not collaborate are explained below:

There is very little work

If the task is very simple and can be done by an individual quickly, it does not require collaboration. In this situation, collaboration may only complicate the process and can even hamper progress. There are also many tasks in the organization that are better performed by individuals when they work alone. For these, collaboration is not required.

Quick decisions need to be made

Organizations may have several situations where they require decisions to be made quickly. Collaborative decision-making takes a lot of time and special effort as every team member is encouraged to give their suggestions. Healthy debates may also need to be conducted which may lengthen the process of decision-making.  

Too much politics in the organization

Some team members have a bad history among them and cannot work closely together. When employees, particularly leaders in the organization, have toxic relationships with each other, the collaboration process can become inefficient and be counter-productive. For these organizations, it is best to not encourage many collaborative practices.

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