Worth reading (especially if you have a techno-centric view of collaboration) - additional information and download information on the HBS Working Knowledge site:
Why do teams often fail to use their knowledge resources effectively even after they have correctly identified the experts among them? Project teams are a prominent feature of the knowledge-based economy, and member expertise has long been recognized as an important resource that can greatly affect team performance, but only to the extent that it is accurately recognized and used to accomplish the objective. The step between recognizing others' expertise and then actually applying it to achieve a collective outcome, however, is highly problematic: Even when individuals know who holds relevant task expertise, they are often unwilling or unable to give the experts appropriate influence over the group process and outcomes. HBS professor Heidi K. Gardner takes a multidisciplinary approach to develop theory explaining how interpersonal dynamics in teams affect members' use of each other's distinct knowledge, ultimately leading to differential performance outcomes. Key concepts include:
- Teams facing significant performance pressures tend to default to high-status members at the expense of using team members with deep knowledge of the client, with detrimental effects on team performance.
- The more important the project, the less effective the team: Excessive performance pressure results in the team reverting to less effective ways of divvying up influence over its end product, in turn leading to lower performance ratings for the whole team.
- Team process is important in enabling organizations to harness knowledge resources for the benefit of maintaining strong relations with their clients.