What are the 12 principles of collaboration? (+5 different types)

In this blogpost, we will be explaining the 12 principles of collaboration. We shall also be looking at the importance of collaboration in organizations and also the different types of collaborations in the workplace. Since the world is changing at a fast pace, collaboration is the need of the hour since it leads to adaptability and flexibility in teams.

What are the 12 principles of collaboration?

The 12 important principles of collaboration are:

1. Sharing information with each other

2. Building trust and respect among the team members

3. Creating value

4. Make a supportive environment

5. Collaborative leadership

6. Focusing on the vision and following values

7. Creating partnerships

8. Appropriate performance metrics

9. Reminding and persuading to collaborate

10.              Listening to the employees

11.              Integration of collaboration in the work process

12.           Focusing on the bigger picture

Collaboration takes place whether we plan it or not. However, when the collaboration process is implemented using the right principles, it can be an effective tool for change in any organization. It can not only bring the employees of an organization closer together, but also empower them to achieve great things. The 12 principles of collaboration are examined in detail below:

Sharing information with each other

For collaboration to occur in a smooth manner, the team members need to share information and resources with each other. To allow better sharing of information, the team leader needs to get the right people with the proper skill sets on board. The team may also require certain collaboration tools to make the process of sharing information and knowledge easier.

Building trust and respect among the team members

Trust and respect take time to build in a team. However, they are highly essential for collaboration in the team. If there is no trust between the team members, they will not approach others for guidance and support and thus there will be very less inter-dependency. This automatically lessens the need for collaboration and hence the team members will not participate.

Creating value

In order for team members to work closely together, they need to feel what they are doing is going to be valuable. If they feel otherwise, they might not actively engage and participate in the collaboration process. Teams need to be assigned tasks and projects that are going to create larger impacts on society, helping the team members relate more to the process.

Make a supportive environment

Team members need to work in a positive and supportive environment that will promote them to achieve their best. The supportive environment not only refers to the organizational policies and the leadership but also the physical workspace. When employees feel supported and motivated, they show more accountability and responsibility in their various tasks.

Collaborative leadership

Collaborative leadership is the best way to instill collaborative practices in the organization’s eco-system. Collaborative leadership has many factors like open communication, mutual trust and respect and group decision-making. This type of leadership can generate different positive behaviors among the team members.

Focusing on the vision

The collaboration is usually performed for a specific shared goal which the team members are keen to achieve. However, they should always be reminded to align their tasks and work to the long-term vision of the organization. Through this style of thinking, the employees are on the same page at all times and thus, collaborate more effectively.

Creating partnerships

Partnerships are better than relationships in an organization. This is because partnerships focus on quality work and bringing more to the table. It also calls for high accountability and responsibility while performing tasks. When there are partnerships in the organization, there is better collaboration between different levels and hierarchies.

Appropriate performance metrics

Most employees dread performance reviews. Organizations use performance metrics that are highly objective and might not be aligned with the individualities of the employees. However, collaboration calls for better performance metrics and an aim to measure what really matters. When the assessment is employee-centered, it leads to constructive feedback and better results.

Reminding and persuading to collaborate

Collaboration is a process and takes a lot of time to seep into the organizational culture. This cannot happen if the strategies are initiated and then not reviewed at all. For collaboration to be effective, employees need constant reminders to work together. They also need to be persuaded by the leaders who advocate collaboration in their daily tasks.

Listening to the employees

Employees need to be listened to as they give valuable feedback to the management. This is important even in the process of collaboration. When the strategies are implemented, the management need to get feedback from the team members about what is not working and what can be done better. In this manner, the collaboration can be modified to be highly successful.

Integration of collaboration in the work process

If the collaboration strategies add more to the workload, team members will not be motivated to use them. They might add to the workload of the employees and also serve as distractions, thus achieving the opposite of what they were intended to. The collaboration should be well aligned with the work processes in order to be integrated better in the organization.

Focusing on the bigger picture

Employees need to know that they are a part of a much larger goal. When team members know that they are working towards making the world and their communities a better place, they will collaborate closely and work together. Through collaboration, employees are more satisfied in their jobs and work with a better sense of purpose.

Importance of collaboration in organizations

Collaboration, when rightly implemented, can bring many advantages and benefits to an organization. It not only benefits the organization from a business perspective but brings many gains to the employees. Some of the advantages of using collaboration in an organization are:

  • It allows teams to become stronger
  • It promotes open and honest communication
  • It leads to better decision-making
  • It makes employees feel valued and understood
  • It creates more leaders in the workforce
  • It promotes learning and development
  • It encourages creativity and innovation
  • It creates a larger impact on society

Different types of collaboration

A business collaboration can have many types. The most common types of collaborations are described below:

Open collaboration

In this type of collaboration, there are a large number of people involved. These may be persons from inside the organization as well as outside of it. The main aim of open collaboration is to generate more ideas and feedback. And thus, open collaborations last for a brief period and the relationships are not that close between the members.

Closed collaboration

In closed collaborations, the number of members involved in the process is quite small. The point of closed collaborations is to make an important decision or fix a very specific problem. The members may have access to highly sensitive and confidential information. Thus, the number of members in the team may be limited for security measures.

Strategic alliances

This is the most common type of business collaboration. In strategic alliances, two or more organizations have agreements in order to combine their resources in order to achieve a specific goal. This type of collaboration has a specific time period mentioned in the agreement. This allows organizations to fill in their skill or knowledge gaps in a cost-effective manner.

Portfolio collaborations

In this type of collaboration, a large organization called an ego-firm connects or collaborates with several smaller companies for a particular goal. The larger organization takes control and guides the processes and policies. The aim of this collaboration is to create a larger network and implement effective strategies in the smaller organizations.

Innovation networks

This collaboration is purely for the creation of new products and designs. Organizations combine their research and development resources together and achieve larger goals. This kind of network can also reduce the competition between companies, encouraging them to work together to create meaningful services for their patrons.


In this blogpost, we have explained the 12 principles of collaboration. We have also looked at the importance of collaboration in organizations and also the different types of collaborations in the workplace.

Frequently asked questions: (What are the 12 principles of collaboration?)

What are the principles of collaborative learning?

The principles of collaborative learning are:

Teaching the right collaborative skills

For collaboration to be conducted in the right manner, the students need to be equipped with the right skills. This is because not all students might be familiar with collaborative skills or may not have developed them properly. The skills which need to be taught are communication skills, transparency and honesty, assertiveness, critical-thinking, etc.

Forming diverse groups

This is an important principle for collaboration. When students work with people who are very unlike themselves, it exposes them to diverse cultural backgrounds, languages and religious beliefs. This allows them to be tolerant of other beliefs and can remove biases and break stereotypes.

Increasing interactions between students

The collaboration should not be restricted to tasks and assignments alone. Students need to be encouraged to collaborate and communicate with each other outside the classroom and while doing other projects as well. They can also be encouraged to use digital collaboration tools which can be greatly useful for shy and reserved students.

Giving the students autonomy

While the students are working on their tasks under the guidance of the instructor, they need to be provided with healthy autonomy. With autonomy, students can take decisions quickly and also are encouraged to solve problems on their own. Autonomy can also teach students about responsibility and the consequences of their actions.

What are the two processes used in collaboration?

The two main processes used in collaboration are:

Effective communication

Collaboration requires open and honest communication between team members in order to be successful in the team. The communication should be open in all its forms, whether it is verbal, non-verbal or even written.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking helps team members solve problems, make decisions and generate new ideas. Through critical thinking, the team can view an issue or a topic from multiple angles and thus come up with various perspectives. In this manner, there is more learning and sharing of resources.

What are the characteristics of a collaborative leader?

A collaborative leader has the following main characteristics:

  • They communicate openly and honestly with everyone
  • They show gratitude
  • They give mutual respect and are highly trustworthy
  • They keep their promises
  • They help others grow
  • They motivate and inspire other team members
  • They are highly knowledgeable and have great resources
  • They are ready to take on new projects
  • They are happy to help and guide the team
  • They show great self-awareness

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