What are principles of collaboration? (+5 steps)

In this post, we will explain the various principles of collaboration. We shall also look at the various stages involved in the collaborative process and its importance in the workplace. Lastly, we will also take you through the different steps in order to create a successful collaboration. Through the proper implementation of collaboration, organizations can achieve larger results.

What are principles of collaboration?

The various principles of collaboration are:

  • Encourage open and frequent communication
  • Promote accountability in every step
  • Collaborate in different ways
  • Demonstrate correct collaborative practices
  • Limit the number of members in a group

Even though many organizations follow collaborative principles and strategies, there is always room for development and improvement. When the right principles are used in the organization, the collaboration itself becomes coordinated. The team members also feel comfortable and safe to interact with each other. The principles of collaboration are explained in detail below:

Encourage open and frequent communication

There are plenty of ways to communicate within an organization. Employees or team members should be encouraged to practice open communication which is early and regular. This allows problems to be solved faster and decisions to be made quicker. Through open and frequent communication, teams can also bond better and work closely together in an effective manner.

Promote accountability in every step

Many team leaders push team members to focus solely on the goal. While this is great in making team members goal-oriented and efficient in their work, it still may allow them to look past details in their tasks. In order to ensure high quality work, team members should be accountable in each and every step of the project and not only the results.

Collaborate in different ways

There can be many different ways to collaborate and work together, not only through projects. This can be through the use of various collaboration tools that can double as communication and idea-sharing platforms. Employees can also be encouraged to work together on small side projects or semi-formal events to make the collaboration process fun and lively.

Demonstrate correct collaborative practices

It is highly important for leaders and managers in the organization to model the right collaborative behavior to motivate and inspire others. Employees can also learn the right strategies and the use of collaborative technologies to work together. Leaders should not only demonstrate teamwork but also upholding and aligning well with the organizational values.

Limit the number of members in a group

While having large groups has its plus points such as better idea generation and more hands on the job, it is best to have small but agile teams. Collaboration can be a lot easier in these groups as there are fewer people. They can also make decisions quicker and the work goes on a whole lot faster as lesser updates are required.

Stages of collaboration

The different stages of the collaboration process, according to Penny Johnson are:


In this first stage of collaboration, the team members get to know each other and are oriented with the aims and goals of this process. The main aim of this stage is to build a healthy working relationship with each other and create a positive environment. The forming stage of the collaboration process is mostly a short one.

It is important to encourage mutual trust and respect in this stage as it is the foundation of the collaborative process. However, there might be feelings of confusion and wariness in the group as they are just getting to know each other. At the end of this stage, the team members should be aware of the goals and their individual roles and responsibilities.


Storming is the second stage in the collaboration process. In this, there are conflicts between the team members as well as many confrontations. The most common reason for conflicts is for the leadership or any position of influence in the team. The entire team itself might be distracted from the main goal of the collaboration due to these conflicts.

Though there are conflicts in this stage, it contributes heavily to the cohesiveness and team spirit of the group. Leaders and managers should ensure that the conflicts are healthy and constructive at this stage. If the conflicts are too frustrating, the group itself may dissolve and cease to exist. However, teams who successfully come out of this can go on work closely together.


Once the storming stage is over, team members now know the need for proper guidelines and ground rules for the collaboration process. These rules are constructed in the third stage of collaboration called norming. In the norming phase, personal differences are put aside and the team members are highly committed to the achievement of the shared goal.

In norming, various problems might be resolved and decisions may be made. The team members know the working styles and personas of each other and share valuable criticism. However, if a new task or project arrives, they might revert to storming and then make their way back to normal, albeit in a faster manner.



In this performing stage, the team members are actively engaged in completing tasks and are closer to achieving their goals. Conflicts are resolved quicker and decisions are made more efficiently. This stage of collaboration goes on until the goal is achieved and the project is completed.

Importance of collaboration in the workplace

Collaboration is highly important for organizations and teams to ensure the success of their projects. Through collaboration, team members can learn from each other much faster and thus can develop better skills. They also have access to more information and better resources through the process of collaboration.

Collaboration not only benefits the organization in terms of profit and productivity. It also is advantageous for employees as they feel valued and understood. Through collaboration, work environments can become positive and supportive. Collaboration also fosters creativity and innovation leading to better products and designs.

Different steps for a successful collaboration

In order to implement collaboration in a successful manner, teams can use the following steps:

Setting a clear goal

For collaboration to be successful, the team members should have a clear goal to achieve. If the team members are not clear about the purpose of the collaboration, they will not be motivated to participate in the work process. The team leader should create smart goals which are specific, measurable, achievable, relatable, and set in a time-frame.


Choosing the type of collaboration

The type of collaboration should be selected next. The most common types of collaboration are open and closed. Open collaborations occur between a large number of people where the aim is to generate a lot of ideas or feedback. There is also closed collaboration where only a few people are involved to tackle a specific or make an important decision.

Bringing in the right team members

Once the type of collaboration has been selected, the right team members should be brought in. The ideal team member is someone who possesses the right skills and expertise for the project and also has the required collaboration skills. It is also highly important to bring team members whose personalities and styles are complementary to each other.

Persuading them to collaborate

When the team members have been chosen, they need to be persuaded in order to achieve a buy-in for the project. They also need to know how the collaboration is going to benefit them personally and the impact it is going to create in a broader perspective. At this stage, it is essential to clarify any doubts and also assign roles and responsibilities.

Implementing collaborative techniques

It is now time for the real work process to begin. Team members can start working on their tasks using the goal as a guideline. They may also support and help each other along the way. Teams can also be encouraged to collaborate using other means like digital collaboration tools, socializing outside work, working on side projects, etc.


In this post, we have explained the various principles of collaboration. We have also looked at the various stages involved in the collaborative process and its importance in the workplace. In addition, we have also gone through the different steps in order to create a successful collaboration.

Frequently asked questions: (What are principles of collaboration?)

How do you teach collaboration in the classroom?

To teach collaboration in a classroom and emphasize its importance in the learning process, teachers and educators can use the following strategies:

Provide the right training

In order to attain the right kind of collaboration in the classroom setting, the students need to be equipped with the proper skills. These can be effective communication skills, accountability, responsibility and transparency. They also need to be intimated about the purpose of the collaboration and what their individual roles and responsibilities are.

Give assignments that require critical thinking

If students receive very simple tasks, they will not collaborate with each other. Teachers need to create complex tasks and assignments for the students to work on. This will not only be interesting for the students but also encourage them to collaborate with other and be more interdependent in the group.

Create more opportunities for collaboration

Collaboration should not only be restricted to work assignments and tasks alone. It can be encouraged in other ways, even taking it outside the classroom. Students can be encouraged to collaborate using digital technology. They can also be encouraged to work together on other side projects in order to broaden the scope of collaboration.

Encourage discussion among the students

Instructors can also encourage more discussion in the classroom in a bid to foster collaboration. In order to make it interesting, the instructor can bring real-life examples as subjects of discussion. The class should also ensure that everyone participates and voices the opinions.

Develop and broaden skill sets

Students need to be encouraged to not only develop their strengths but also learn new skills. In this manner, the students can stretch and strengthen their learning in the classroom. This can be applied for collaborative skills as well.

What is the importance of collaboration?

Through collaboration, a team can strengthen itself and achieve its goals in a better manner. Collaboration can greatly improve the communication process in the team and lead to transparency and honesty between members. It also increases goal-orientation and thus team members show better ownership and responsibility of their roles.

What are 3 important skills for teamwork and collaboration?

The 3 most important skills for teamwork and collaboration are:

  • Mutual trust and respect between team members
  • Patience and tolerance for a smoother work process
  • High levels of self-awareness in team members

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