Collaboration vanishes chronic conflicts

According to Paul S. Adler's Chapter Five in The Firm as a Collaborative Community, work processes gradually mature. The way work gets done migrates from informal to formalized and externalized. Others can then move out the learning curves for those processes more quickly. The quality of the work improves as individual conduct becomes more consistent with everyone else involved. When these processes mature into formalized procedures and standards, a surprising thing occurs: collaboration emerges!

This emergent collaboration reveals a pattern of vanishing three kinds of chronic management conflicts:
  1. staff/line conflicts over authority and compliance issues
  2. horizontal conflicts over expertise and access to special knowledge
  3. vertical conflicts between managing up to please higher ups and managing down to protect underlings
When collaboration emerges from mature work processes, those involved with production then work together with those who look after quality measures, schedule slippage and budget overruns. They benefit more from colleagues in other disciplines who bring different viewpoints to undefined problems. They realize more of both what they don't yet know and what they need to learn from "inhabitants of other silos" who attend different conferences, meetings and trainings. They also find fewer incidents of higher ups reverting to authoritarian supervision styles. This means they need to protect their brood less from mismanagement raining down from above. There is far more listening to, trusting and respecting each other up and down the levels of the hierarchy.

This suggests to me that it is possible to realize the best of both kinds of efficiency by investing in the maturity of work processes.

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