Guillermo de la Puente

What do collaborative teams have in common? From a Psychology student


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3 people can sometimes produce like 4. Other times like 2.
3 people can sometimes produce like 4. Other times like 2.

The very nature of organizations consists on collaboration, which means two or more people working together towards shared goals. We know collaboration is a good thing: in doing so, people can achieve bigger goals than the ones they would attain working individually. However, both personal experience and scientific studies tell us that it isn’t as simple as putting a group of people together for the positive effects of collaboration to happen. In fact, working together can also be detrimental.

As manager and Psychology student at UOC, I’m always trying to understand better group dynamics, so that I can influence my teams to achieve more ambitious results. During the last few years, I’ve been observing the context and behaviors that promote their success as teams. Here are some of them:

On the other hand, here are a few aspects that prevent positive collaboration, like:

In the field Social Psychology, scientists have also studied two opposing phenomena that affect collaboration:

Zlatian Iliev, tech lead at Splash, proposes to extend the idea of positive collaboration to any relationship, as achieving more than the sum of its parts. Think of your friendships, your family and your partner. Are those groups of people better together than separate? Are they enabling their members to be better than if they were alone? While it can’t be measured in terms of output, the idea is still applicable, and it’s a beautiful one in my opinion.

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