Collaboration in the Digital Age: Diverse, Relevant and Challenging
Collaboration, the organisation of joint efforts among actors to achieve a shared goal, has always been an integral part of human life, given that we are social beings. Modern life however has increased both the necessity for and complexity of collaboration, bringing about complex production and political systems that require highly coordinated efforts for their functioning. The digital age, driven by the advent of network computing, the Internet, and mobile devices has added an entirely new layer of both opportunity and challenges. The ability to communicate, exchange information, and collaborate across space and time has given us new forms of working, new types of (virtual) organisation, and the reconfiguration of markets. This in turn has spurred innovation across different sectors of the economy, enabling never before possible collaboration across national and disciplinary boundaries. Yet, all of this comes at a cost. Collaboration online without face-to-face contact is not frictionless; it requires new skills and hidden ‘collaboration work’, above and beyond the ‘actual work’. New, multi-stakeholder, network forms of organising come with new coordination costs, sources of conflict, and the need to renegotiate the fair distribution of value. In this book we take a look at a diverse range of issues of collaboration in the digital age, unpacking both opportunities and challenges. In this introductory chapter, we present results of a study into the global news discourse around ‘collaboration’, before we introduce each chapter of the book in more detail.