This blogpost will explain the different ways in which collaboration overload can affect decision making. We will also be discussing what collaboration overload is and why it occurs in an organization.
In addition, we shall be mentioning ways to implement collaboration without it leading to overload. While collaboration is important, its incorrect implementation can lead to burnouts. Hence, organizations have to be careful while stimulating collaborative practices.
How does collaboration overload affect decision making?
Collaboration overload can affect decision making in two different ways:
- It can slow down the process of decision making itself
- It can also lead to a depletion of personal resources
Since collaboration in organizations is becoming increasingly common, collaboration overload is also becoming highly prevalent. Collaboration overload can affect decision making as well as the performance of individuals. Organizations can be affected by collaboration overload through the following ways:
It can slow down the process of decision making itself
Too much collaboration can slow down decision-making. Since collaboration encourages suggestions and opinions from others, the time taken to make decisions can be extended. Collaboration also promotes interdependence between the team members, which further delays the process of making decisions.
Bad collaborative methods can make employees and team members self-doubt. When this happens, they seek opinions and guidance in every step of the way. Since many people are involved in the process, the process of decision-making is highly slowed down.
It can also lead to a depletion of personal resources
Collaboration can also lead to burnouts in employees. Collaborative practices require a lot of effort and participation from team members. This can lead to depletion of their energies and other resources. Many team members spend more time helping others with their tasks and thus won’t find the time to accomplish their own goals.
What is collaboration overload?
Collaboration overload happens when a team member or employee spends so much time engaged in the process of collaboration that their own tasks are left incomplete. Here, the employees are highly engaged with each other and help each other out.
This becomes a distraction from their assigned goals. It can also make them feel depleted in energy and thus they cannot put in effort to accomplish personal goals. This phenomenon is becoming highly common in organizations due to unnecessary meetings and technology.
Why does collaboration overload occur in an organization?
Collaboration overload occurs in an organization due to several reasons. The most common reasons for this are:
Implementation of too much or wrong technologies in the workplace
When the wrong collaboration technologies are implemented in the workplace, it can lead to a collaboration overload. It can also happen when too many collaboration tools are present in the organization.
When this happens, employees can be confused as to when to use what collaboration tool. They can also feel pressured to collaborate using the tools and thus are at risk of burnouts. While implementing collaboration tools in organizations, team leaders and management should consider the needs of the organization as well as the needs of the employees.
High emphasis on engagement and participation
When there is too much emphasis on engagement and participation in the workplace, the employees may feel highly pressured to respond to every message and email. This not only cuts into their work time, but also can lead to collaboration overload. This can also become challenging for introverted team members who might stop collaborating altogether.
Unreasonable expectations from management
When the management has placed unrealistic expectations from employees, they might feel the need to collaborate all the time. This is because they would seek help and guidance in every step of the work process. They would also seek help in making decisions. Thus, the management should set smart goals which are realistic and attainable.
Improper communication skills
When team members do not have the right communication skills, they can collaborate ineffectively with each other. This leads to even more collaboration, causing a collaboration overload. When team members do not interact using the right communication skills, they can communicate inefficiently.
This leads to further collaboration for clarifying doubts, suggestions, opinions, and such. Thus, before implementing a collaboration plan, team leaders need to provide the right training and also set the right ground rules. This helps the collaboration to take place in a smoother manner.
Poor time management skills
Team members also need to have great time management skills. This not only improves work productivity and efficiency, but also helps in collaboration. When team members cannot manage their calendars and schedules in the right manner, they tend to collaborate more for making small decisions, completing simple tasks and setting the right priorities.
How can we implement collaboration without it leading to collaboration overload?
To reduce the risk of collaboration overload, organizations can use the following ways:
Understanding the need for collaboration
Organizations should first understand the need for collaboration and if they require it. While collaboration is great for any organization, some organizational structures cannot support it. When collaboration is implemented in these organizations, it can become ineffective or can lead to collaboration overload.
Aligning the collaboration with the work process
The collaboration strategies implemented should be in line with the work process. If collaboration itself is going to hinder work, it means the right strategy is not being implemented. This can lead to employees taking extra time out of their schedules just to communicate or help and support other team members. Thus, it leads to reduction in work productivity.
Encouraging change in the organization
Collaboration can be successfully implemented only when the employees are open to change in the environment. The management should also take heed and start the process slowly and move gradually. To encourage growth and change in the organization, the leaders need to demonstrate the behavior first. This motivates other team members who will model themselves after the leader.
Using the right technology
Using the right collaboration tools can be a useful way to avoid collaboration overload. Collaboration overload often happens when too many tools are being used in the process. This leads to employees fluttering from one platform to another, wasting their energy and depleting their energy levels.
A good way to reduce this risk is to find the right collaboration tool required by the organization and its employees. A great collaboration tool should have several features and be easy to use. It should also have stable security features and be versatile enough to integrate with other pieces of technology in the organization.
Rewarding successful collaborations
Rewarding successful and effective collaboration can also motivate other employees to collaborate the right way. While rewarding effective collaboration, leaders should remember to look for collaboration strategies being used right among the team members. They should not just look at the achievement of goals or contribution to business profits by the team members.
This blogpost has explained the different ways in which collaboration overload can affect decision making. We have also discussed what collaboration overload is and why it occurs in an organization. In addition, we have mentioned different ways to implement collaboration without it leading to overload.
Frequently asked questions: (How does collaboration overload affect decision making?)
What effect does collaboration have?
In an organization, collaboration can have the following effects:
It improves teamwork
Collaboration promotes teamwork in the organization. Since the entire team is focused on achieving a shared goal for which they feel great ownership, they work together in order to achieve it. Collaboration also promotes interaction and healthy relationships between team members, further improving team cohesion.
It promotes problem-solving
Collaboration improves the process of solving problems. Problems are solved better when different perspectives and opinions are given. Since collaboration also fosters a positive climate, it further enhances the problem solving process.
It increases motivation levels
Working together has been proven to improve motivation levels among employees. When employees are motivated, they put in more effort to accomplish goals and also collaborate further with each other. It also leads to better employee satisfaction and retention.
It improves communication
Collaboration requires a lot of communication in order to be implemented smoothly. Team members who are not that well-versed in communication skills can learn these from others. Team members are also encouraged to use other communication methods like non-verbal communication, body language, eye-contact, etc. This also expands their expertise in communication.
It increases success rates
Effective collaboration can lead to goals being accomplished more efficiently and deadlines being met on time. This allows business profits to also go up making the organization all the more successful.
It promotes creativity and innovation
It also creates a nurturing environment for creativity. Since ideas and suggestions are always welcome, new products and campaigns can be created by the organization. When team members are encouraged to be creative, it can also boost their morale, satisfaction and motivation.
What is a collaboration problem?
The biggest problem organizations face while collaborating is when employees feel the pressure to collaborate all the time. In this scenario, the team members feel they need to respond to interactions and notifications all the time. This can not only lead to stress, but also a decrease in productivity as they spend more time on collaboration rather than the tasks themselves.
What is the hardest part of collaboration?
The biggest challenge or obstacle organizations face while trying to collaborate is communication. The team members might not be well-versed in effective communication and thus might require training or retraining.
The organizational culture itself might not allow seamless communication between members and departments. Communication can also become a problem if there are no tools to allow smooth interaction between employees.
If you like this article, please leave your comments and questions in the space below.