Difference Between Collaboration and Cooperation

Collaboration vs Cooperation
 

Collaboration and cooperation are words in English language that have very similar meanings. In fact, there are many learners of English language who mistakenly used these words interchangeably as if they were synonyms. Despite overlapping, there are certain subtle differences between the two words that will be highlighted in this article.

What is Collaboration?

Collaboration is working together to solve a problem or to achieve a goal. Collaboration takes place between individuals, organizations, and even governments to tackle shared goals and objectives. Sharing of knowledge, expertise, and manual labor may be required in any collaborative venture or endeavor. If a team of scientists is working on a project such as the one that took place at CERN to understand how our universe came into being, we term it as a collaborative endeavor. When two countries decide to partner to achieve a shared goal such as fighting terrorism, it is indeed collaboration. Interpol, the international policing organization, is one such organization that exists and operates because of the collaboration of the member countries.

What is Cooperation?

Cooperation is a word that refers to a process of working in unison, to achieve an objective rather than to work independently to compete with each other. We all know about cooperatives where people pool together resources to have a working system. At the social level, a family is the smallest yet most powerful example of cooperation where a man and a woman come together to live with each other and share the workload to start the family. The roles and duties get divided between the man and the woman, and they perform their tasks with the active cooperation of the other. Though times have changed and so have the perceptions of the roles of a man and a woman in a family, there was a time when man was supposed to look after the material needs and the woman look after the household chores such as cooking and feeding the children.

Without cooperation, it is hard to imagine the world surviving, as nations today are dependent upon each other for most of their resource requirements. We see how the countries of the world cooperate with each other whenever there is an epidemic or endemic or when there is a calamity or natural disaster striking at one place.

What is the difference between Collaboration and Cooperation?

• Collaboration is similar to cooperation but takes it to a higher level with active participation of all the members in collaboration.

• When different people or organizations come together to achieve a certain objective, they adopt a shared strategy shelving their individual approaches. This is what is involved in collaboration. On the other hand, pooling together of resources and doing one’s bit for a shared cause is what characterizes cooperation.

• Cooperation is opposite of standing alone or competing, but collaboration is active participation in a shared endeavor.

• There is a more formal approach in collaboration than cooperation.

• In a family, the roles of a man and a woman are clearly defined, and they cooperate with each other, to raise a family without any written rules and regulations. This is a classic example of cooperation.

• Collaboration is said to be taking place when scientists of many countries come together to find the cure of an endemic.

• Law enforcing authorities of several countries coming together to catch a terrorist is another example of collaboration.