Social collaboration

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Social collaboration refers to processes that help multiple people or groups interact and share information to achieve common goals. Such processes find their 'natural' environment on the internet, where collaboration and social dissemination of information are made easier by current innovations and the proliferation of the web.

Sharing concepts on a digital collaboration environment often facilitates a "brainstorming" process, where new ideas may emerge due to the varied contributions of individuals. These individuals may hail from different walks of life, different cultures and different age groups, their diverse thought processes help in adding new dimensions to ideas, dimensions that previously may have been missed. A crucial concept behind social collaboration is that 'ideas are everywhere.' Individuals are able to share their ideas in an unrestricted environment as anyone can get involved and the discussion is not limited to only those who have domain knowledge.

Social collaboration is also known as enterprise social networking, and the products to support it are often branded enterprise social networks (ESNs).[1]


Murray-Close & Monsey describe factors that influence the success of collaborations by non-profit organizations:[2]

  1. Environmental factors
    • The community has a history of collaboration & cooperation.
    • The community views participants as reliable and competent.
    • The community supports the mission of the group.
  2. Membership characteristics
    • Participants share a mutual understanding and respect for each other
    • The group includes representatives from each segment of the community who will be affected by its activities
    • Participants believe they will benefit from their involvement and that the advantages of the collaboration will offset costs
    • Participants are able to compromise
  3. Process & structure
    • Participants feel ownership in both the process and the outcome
    • Participants are open to the different ways of organizing and accomplishing work
    • The group understands their roles, rights and responsibilities and how to carry them out
    • The group is able to adjust through major changes
  4. Communication
    • Participants interact often, keep each other updated, discuss issues openly, and share important information within and outside of the group
    • Participants establish personal connections with each other
  5. Purpose
    • Goals and objectives of the group are clear to all participants and can be easily attained
    • Participants share the same vision and agree on the mission, objectives and strategy
    • The mission, goals, or approach of the group differ from the mission, goals or approach of the participant's organizations
  6. Resources
    • The group has adequate funds, a consistent financial base, staff and materials needed to support the group's operations
    • The group has a skilled leader, someone with organizing and interpersonal skills who acts with fairness, who is respected by the participants

Comparison to social networking[edit]

Social collaboration is related to social networking, with the distinction that while social networking is individual-centric, social collaboration is entirely group-centric. Generally speaking, social networking means socializing for personal, professional or entertainment purposes, for example, LinkedIn and Facebook. Social collaboration, on the other hand, means working socially to achieve a common goal, for example, GitHub and Quora.[1] Social networking services generally focus on individuals sharing messages in a more-or-less undirected way and receiving messages from many sources into a single personalized activity feed. Social collaboration services, on the other hand, focus on the identification of groups and collaboration spaces in which messages are explicitly directed at the group and the group activity feed is seen the same way by everyone.

Social collaboration may refer to time-bound collaborations with an explicit goal to be completed or perpetual collaborations in which the goal is knowledge sharing (e.g. community of practice, online community).

Comparison to crowdsourcing[edit]

Social collaboration is similar to crowdsourcing as it involves individuals working together towards a common goal.[3][4][5] Crowdsourcing is a method for harnessing specific information from a large, diverse group of people.[6] Unlike social collaboration, which involves lots of communication and cooperation among a large group of people, crowdsourcing is more like individuals working towards the common goal relatively independently. Therefore, the process of working involves less communication.

Andrea Grover, curator of a crowdsourcing art show,[7] explained that collaboration among individuals is an appealing experience, because participation is "a low investment, with the possibility of a high return."[8] Social collaboration appeals to young entrepreneurs because of this notion.[citation needed]

Advantages of crowdsourcing[original research?]
Many contributors
Independent tasks
Easy aggregation of the efforts
Diversity of opinions or talents
Avoids problems with interacting crowds
Common goal
Reputation boost
Diverse opinions and expertise
Large workers base
Crowdsourcing Social collaboration
Information-centric Production-centric
Narrow focus Broad focus
Under control Equal partnership
Community assisted Inter-group

Social collaboration software[edit]

Social collaboration software includes Glip messaging, Google Apps, IGLOO Software for businesses, Knowledge Plaza Electronic Document System and Social Intranet, Microsoft Lync social collaboration tool for businesses, Slack, Weekdone for managers, and Wrike.[9]


Social collaboration is going to be used as a tool in companies to enhance productivity. Social workers could be able to use social collaboration tools to manage personal tasks, professional projects and social networks with other colleagues within the same organization.[citation needed]

Social collaboration will serve as a platform to get people involved and connected. This kind of platform provides a spiritual training practice for social workers.[10]

Social collaboration software could help enhance the communication between customers and employees and build trust in the organization.[11]

When we[who?] need real-time chat, it would be excellent to include every participant in a shared and archived forum which keeps record of important information and logs. So collaborators need not worry about losing important records while working towards the common goal.[citation needed][original research?]

The interactive communication and synchronous environment promotes understanding among colleagues. Collaboration helps in building strong relationships between workers, which in turn leads to faster problem solving. The close connection among workers and customers creates a scalable organization which naturally increases the trust and faith that customers have in the company. Therefore, the interactive customer relationship levels up customer satisfaction in ways that traditional collaboration methods cannot.[citation needed]

Apart from its effect on the way work will be conducted in the future, social collaboration will also affect society. In the coming years social collaboration will be the driving force in societal change as more and more people work together to get their vision across to governments and governing agencies. An example of this is, an online petition tool where users can help bring their government's attention to pressing social issues that need to be addressed.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Carr, D. F., & ebrary, I. (2014;2013;). Social collaboration for dummies (1st ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  2. ^ Mattessich, P., Murray-Close, M., & Monsey, B. (2001). Collaboration: What Makes It Work.
  3. ^ Buettner, Ricardo (2015). A Systematic Literature Review of Crowdsourcing Research from a Human Resource Management Perspective. 48th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. Kauai, Hawaii: IEEE. pp. 4609–4618. doi:10.13140/2.1.2061.1845. ISBN 978-1-4799-7367-5. 
  4. ^ Crowdsourcing vs Crowdfunding
  5. ^ Yields analysis for crowdsourcing
  6. ^ "Crowdsourcing and collaboration for journalists". 2011-06-23. 
  7. ^ Phantom Captain: Art and Crowdsourcing
  8. ^ DeVun, Leah. "Looking at how crowds produce and present art." Wired News. Web. 19 Nov. 2009. <>.
  9. ^ "Social Collaboration Software List | G2 Crowd". G2 Crowd. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  10. ^ "Social-Emotional Learning and Spirituality". Edutopia. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  11. ^ "Social Collaboration Is in Finance’s Future". Analyst Perspective - Robert Kugel. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 

Further reading[edit]