Psychological attributes of collaborative working

The psychology of workplace collaboration can be traced back to the everyday interactions that occur in any organization. In the fast-evolving business world, there is a rising need to move from routine tasks and hierarchical decisions to a way of working that enables creative thinking within teams. The teams with a greater understanding of the psychology behind cooperation can better use this creative force. [1]

According to Mashek (2016), collaboration involves a substantial organizational commitment, a very high level of trust, and extensive territory sharing. Collaborating partners demonstrate interest and commitment to the value of learning from each other to become better at what they do collectively. Collaborating partners willingly share the risk, responsibilities, resources, and rewards of the work. [2]

Purpose and organizational effectiveness

My interpretation of a sense of purpose is the human ability to believe in stories that, according to history’s Professor, Yuval Noah, improve cooperation between many individuals. [3]

When people work toward a goal they believe in, they are more likely to work together to achieve that goal. If the team members recognize the value of their work, they will cooperate within a team. This willing cooperation can be achieved if the management creates a sense of the importance of the project, which helps to recognize the importance of the work as an individual. [4]

Creating a sense of community is an essential part of promoting organisational effectiveness; cooperation is easier when people feel connected. A perceived purpose is a strong incentive to achieve common objectives that can help motivate individuals through periods of uncertainty. [5]

Moreover, the ability to adapt future strategies and behaviours to environmental change, technology and human resources suggests organisational effectiveness.

First, the organisation must have a scheme in place; the scheme to be useful must have a purpose.

Once the organisation establishes its purpose the success or failure of the organisational effectiveness can be realized only when the expected outcome communicated as a purpose, an operational goal, or asset management objective is recorded measured and analysed.

Therefore, the purpose should be consistent with the overreaching organisational objectives, clearly defined in the asset management policy so its intended function can be quantified and evaluated.

Leadership, communication, and trust – essential for successful collaboration 

For cooperation to be successful, organizations must create a culture that respects and anticipates honest and open communication channels.

Genuine collaboration is impossible when people do not trust one another to speak openly. For successful collaboration, the team members must not be afraid to ask questions or propose wrong answers.

Poor leadership can cripple collaboration; successful organizations create trust between the immediate team and other task teams outside their organization. [6]

Coordination and cooperation

Coordination and cooperation are the crucial attributes of collaboration. In the AEC industry, the desired outcome is the successful execution of workflow in the correct sequence managed by the competent project team members working together to achieve common, albeit often multifaceted goal.

Coordination often involves more than one party who interacts to reach a common goal. The process is characterised by transforming viewpoints beyond narrow self-interest into broader community-wide interests and actions. [7]

The interaction of individuals or task teams who cooperate to achieve a common goal demonstrates the ability to learn from each other. Shared learning reduces the cognitive burden on the leader, because the pressure to share knowledge is distributed within the group, not just among one person.

In closing

The supplementary information from the public consultation (BIEG) report emphasizes that efficient information exchange is an integral part of the successful BIM implementation from the outset and recommended by the ISO 19650 framework. [8]

The cooperation of BIM Steering Group on Interoperability (BISG), British Government, the Construction Industry Association (CIA) and the BIM Institute, together with Building Britain Digital, Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), the Research Council for Engineering and Physics (EPC), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BES) and other partners are driving forward efforts to develop, commercialize and promote digital manufacturing technologies in the construction sector. This collaboration has driven the development of the Building Innovation Centre and the BIM Institute Building Britain Digital Programme, intending to develop and market digital and manufacturing technologies for the construction sector. [9]

The UK Government’s commitment to implement BIM in the building environment, Hackitt Review and similar reports may help remove barriers to access and use of data and information. Increased interoperability will support collaboration and a common thread of information, including better access to information on building materials, construction systems, and components. [10]

Interoperability, education and communication are the most urgent barriers that need to be removed. Lack of trust, purpose and communication diminishes effective collaboration; although current technology offers a technical solution for team members who are geographically separate but need to communicate while working together, the software will not resolve the more subtle issues discussed here; therefore, organizations should concentrate not only on upskilling their teams in technology but also address the social relations managerial skills.

[1]        “The psychology of workplace collaboration ,” Microsoft Industry Blogs – Australia, Mar. 20, 2019. (accessed Jan. 08, 2021).

[2]        D. Mashek, “Collaboration: It’s Not What You Think ,” Psychology Today UK, Feb. 22, 2016. (accessed Jan. 08, 2021).

[3]        Y. N. Harari, Sapiens: a brief history of humankind. Penguin Random House UK, 2011.

[4]        D. Roe, “7 Obstacles to Enterprise Collaboration and How to Fix Them,” CMS WiRE, Oct. 03, 2018. (accessed Jan. 09, 2021).

[5]        L. Kohler, “The psychology of effective collaboration | scarlettabbott,” BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCE, Apr. 15, 2020. (accessed Jan. 08, 2021).

[6]        E. and M. National Academies of Sciences, Toolkit for Rural Community Coordinated Transportation Services. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board, 2004.

[7]        M. Sopp, “Collaborative working and ISO 44001 | Croner-i,Croner-i, Sep. 18, 2018. (accessed Jan. 08, 2021).

[8]        BIM Interoperability Expert Group (BIEG), “BIM Interoperability Expert Group (BIEG) Report,” 2020. Accessed: Sep. 06, 2020. [Online].

[9]       R. Wood, “BIM Interoperability Expert Group Report Public Consultation Summary. June PDF Free Download,” DocPlayer, Jun. 2020. (accessed Jan. 09, 2021).

[10]       J. Hackitt and D. Freng, Building a Safer Future Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report. 2018.

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