Co-operation vs collaboration

Good, clear stuff from Paco Gonzalez

Cooperation vs Collaboration

We often use these words interchangeably, but they represent fundamentally different ways of contributing to a group and each comes with its own dynamics and power structures that shape groups in different ways …

When collaborating, people work together (co-labor) on a single shared goal.
Like an orchestra which follows a script everyone has agreed upon and each musician plays their part not for its own sake but to help make something bigger.

When cooperating, people perform together (co-operate) while working on selfish yet common goals.
The logic here is “If you help me I’ll help you” and it allows for the spontaneous kind of participation that fuels peer-to-peer systems and distributed networks. If an orchestra is the sound of collaboration, then a drum circle is the sound of cooperation.

Useful to bear in mind when getting students to do group work. I wonder how beneficial it would be to make this distinction explicit to students? Probably just enough to give them a goal to collaborate towards on the one hand, and co-operative settings (like knowledge markets) on the other.