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 Describe the industry you currently work in or plan to work in along with a discussion of your vision of what collaboration will be like for your industry in the year 2031. Be sure to discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages to your vision of collaboration in 2031. 

Collaboration and Cooperation

Cooperation occurs when people work together towards a common goal. For example, in teamwork, each team member is given a task to complete such as a project component. Collaboration occurs when people, together or remotely, work together towards a common goal (Kroenke & Boyle, 2020). For example, a team member in California and a team member in Texas might meet using Skype to discuss ideas for a project.

Figure 1 below illustrates collaboration in a team environment. In this illustration, the project manager is responsible for collaborating with team members who are in different departments. For example, the project manager may assign a project administrator who will document the various stages of project development, assign a person from software development to develop the software application, assign a person from operations to set up a testing environment, and so on. Each of these team members would work with the project manager and with each other throughout the project; however, the project manager would be the main point of contact.

Feedback and iteration are involved so that the results of the collaborative effort are greater than could be produced by any of the individuals working alone. Let’s take a corporate strategic document as an example. This document is not created by one person, but instead by various individuals in the organization. Each individual incorporates his or her statements into the document and then passes it along to the next person. When it is finished, someone will usually review the document and provide critical feedback. Based on this feedback, the document will be revised and inserted as part of the final document. As each section of the final strategic document is completed, the final document will then be ready for submission to a corporate body for approval; these revisions are called a series of stages or iterations.

Collaboration tools can be used to manage shared content such as shared content with no control, shared content with version management on Google Drive, and shared content with version control (Kroenke & Boyle, 2020). Some examples of collaboration tools are using Google Drive or Microsoft (MS) SharePoint to share documents and other tasks and using Skype or Adobe Connect to meet and discuss ideas, progress, or other information.

In short, a collaborative group works together to achieve a common goal via a process of feedback and iteration by communicating, sharing information and knowledge, combining skills and sharing time. There are twelve qualities, attitudes, and skills of a good collaborator as explained by Kroenke & Boyle (2020). In the scenario example at the beginning of the chapter, we can see what happens to collaboration when communication breaks down. It becomes apparent that Felix was not in collaboration with his teammates. He has missed several meetings and did not read his emails regarding the team project. As a result, the team is having trouble getting a prototype of the drone finished. Perhaps if the team used better collaboration tools, they might be more successful. For example, they could develop procedures for collaboration such as requiring all team members to be present. If a team member cannot be present, they can use Skype or some other communications tool to meet and collaborate. Sometimes, team collaboration can fail for other reasons such as conflict. Most people think avoiding conflict and having similar ideas and opinions makes a group better. While social ability is important, research indicates the importance of being able to have different ideas and opinions expressed. Team members must have the skills to accept critiques, criticism, and revisions of their work. In some student teams, the focus is strictly on fulfilling a requirement and not necessarily producing the highest quality work product possible through the collaborative efforts of the team members. Another problem that can affect team collaboration is ineffective team members. The characteristics of an ineffective team member will include lack of interest and commitment, unwillingness to give or take criticism, unwillingness to listen, and indifference. Students are typically not too tolerant of ineffective team members, but they are not always willing to boot them off the team, preferring instead to just work around them. Characteristics of collaborative success center on the output of the group being superior to the output that could have been created by an individual working alone, including such things as being more productive, being more creative, and generating more and better ideas. When forming a collaborative group, it is useful to begin with a discussion of critical feedback guidelines. Refer to figure 7-2 in the textbook to review guidelines and examples of constructive and unconstructive feedback.

Collaboration Information Systems

A collaboration information system is composed of the five components of an information system as noted by Kroenke and Boyle (2020). A collaboration information system exists for the purpose of sharing information, making decisions, solving problems, and managing projects. Collaboration information system can provide a team with a better way to manage the projects such as discussing solutions to problems. It could also help solve meeting attendance issues when personnel are geographically dispersed across different regions or when working from home.

Solving Problems

There are several steps to take when solving problems:

• Define the problem: Problem definition varies due to differences in experience, education, training, personal goals, or job responsibilities. Groups need to develop a shared definition of the problem through research, discussion, and compromise.

• Identify alternative solutions: Identifying possible solutions may involve investigative research and brainstorming.

• Specify evaluation criteria: Determine the benchmark or standard measures to be used to evaluate the problem.

• Evaluate alternatives: Evaluating alternatives involves comparing test results to identify and eliminate infeasible, substandard, or unacceptable solutions and to identify feasible, superior or acceptable solutions.

• Select an alternative: Selecting a solution may be based on majority vote, consensus, or compromise.

• Implement the solution: Implementing selected solution includes monitoring and modifying as needed (Kroenke & Boyle, 2020).

Egocentric versus Empathetic Thinking Egocentric thinking centers on the self. A person who is egocentric believes that his or her view is the only view available and is often not able to think outside the box (Figure 2). Empathetic thinking is the ability to see more than one view, the ability to understand the other person’s perspective. A person who is empathetic is able to consider multiple viewpoints and realize that people who hold a perspective different from his or her own viewpoints are not necessarily wrong (but he or she does not have to be wrong either). Using empathetic thinking is smart and results in better relationships because you do not need to change your way of thinking to match the other person’s thinking. Business is people working together in relationships. Better relationships equate to better business. Negotiators, for example, need to know what the other side wants, what is important to it, what issues they can give on it, and which ones are non-negotiable. Another example is a business meeting that appears to be going nowhere. Whenever we find ourselves in such a meeting, is the problem due to different perspectives? If so, one can sometimes find the root cause by engaging in empathetic thinking. Competitive Strategy Figure 3-1 in the textbook summarizes a planning process used by many organizations. We start with Porter’s Five Forces to analyze industry structure, and then we use the model of four competitive strategies. Next, we evaluate the value chain and then the business processes; finally, we analyze how IS can provide a competitive advantage. Competitive strategy determines value chain structure by primary activities in the value chain, support activities in the value chain, and value chain linkages. Information systems provide competitive advantages via products and via business processes.

Reference Kroenke, D. M., & Boyle, R. J. (2020). Using MIS (12th ed.). Pearson.

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