Researchers have identified four destructive ways to cooperate. Luckily, there is a cure.

KNOWLEDGE @ BI: Co-Creation 

The building and construction industry must address and solve increasingly complex problems. This demands knowledge and experience from different engineering specialists, organisations and stakeholders. 

Therefore, it is common sense to assume that different people must join forces and co-create solutions. By combining different expertise and backgrounds, it is possible to make two plus two become way more than four. In order to achieve this, various stakeholders and different actors along the value chain have no choice but to come together, establish shared goals and work together to define the problems and to find smart solutions.  

As a result, interaction, or cooperation, has become the most repeated mantra in the building and construction industry.  

The research is in line with common sense. Cooperation, interdisciplinary leadership and good communication can contribute to increased values when demanding projects are to be completed, concludes Sebastiano Lombardo, Adjunct Associate Professor at BI Norwegian Business School. 

Destroys value

Even though both research and common sense support the cooperation mantra, numerous collaborative projects result in little, or even negative value creation. Sometimes, two plus two can actually become less than four.

So, what are people doing that ends up destroying value? 

Together with colleagues from the Univeristy of Cagliary (Italy), Lombardo has completed a study of around 40 projects within the construction and industrial production industry, in order to identify the causes for failed collaborations (or “value co-destruction practices” as researchers call them). 

– The results of interaction-based projects depend mostly on how the parties handle the resources they bring into the collaboration, Lombardo argues. 

Companiesbring four main types of resources into collaborations: their network, their reputation, their financial wealth and their expertise, both in the subject area and for the task at hand.   

When the different agents collaborate in a project, the total amount of resources they dispose of can either increase, decrease or remain unchanged. 

Four signs of toxic collaboration

Researchers have identified four separate recurring patterns in cooperative efforts that contribute to destroying value rather than creating it:

  1. Denying access to resources: This is the most common destructive practice encountered by the researchers. Typical findings include partners who withhold information concerning budget, costs or risks. They do not provide each other with already proposed solutions. They keep relevant business relationships hidden, obstruct advisors from providing their insights and avoid acknowledging the good reputation of others. 
  2. Misuse of resources: An unnecessary amount of time is spent participating in poorly planned and executed meetings. Information is misused to delay or boycott decision processes. Researchers found examples of unnecessary use of specialist expertise, an unwillingness to follow advice from specialists when it is required of them, misuse of collaborator’s budgets and resources, as well as a misuse of trust-based relationships. 
  3. Insufficient resource integration: Poor planning of how the resources should be used, is also a recurring theme. Decision-makers are included too late in the solution development phase. Suppliers who deliver products for the final solution are not permitted to contribute in the development of solutions. Specialists are not included in due time, because their field of expertise is erroneously considered as being “of less importance”. 
  4. Incorrect use of resources: Collaborators either include decision-makers too early or too late. They allocate too little or too much budget funds. They recruit co-workers who refuse to cooperate with each other. Finally, they connect non-complementary competency profiles together. 

This is the cure

Thus, collaboration can therefore become toxic and ruin values in interaction-based projects. Luckily, there is a cure. 

Lombardo highlights four indicators of successful interaction-based projects as a key to create value through cooperation:

  1. There has to be a genuine desire to create values together among all parties.
  2. Pitfalls should be recognised early, so that people can be conscious of them and their own practice. 
  3. Dissolving destructive practices demand endurance. Destructive practice must be courageously  cknowledged whenever it arises, and actively used as a springboard for learning. Time needs to be invested in this.
  4. Common courtesy is not sufficient when it comes to avoiding destructive practices and co-creation of value. The most proficient ones use a great deal of energy on this. 

– Interaction is more important than ever, the BI researcher emphasises. 

According to him, more knowledge about the causes of toxic collaboration could help collaboration partners to recognise when they risk to co-destroy value and take action to change their practice before it is too late. That increases dramatically the chance for successful collaborations. 

References:

Lombardo S. and Cabiddu F.: What’s in it for me? Capital, value and co-creation practices. Industrial Marketing Management, 61, (2017). 

Frau M., Lombardo S. and Cabiddu F.: Value Co-destruction: a practice-based approach. Submitted to the Journal of Service Research for evaluation. 

Comments?:

Send your comments and questions regarding this article by E-mail to forskning@bi.no 

Text: Audun Farbrot, Head of Science Communication, BI Norwegian Business School.

 

KNOWLEDGE @ BI: Co-Creation

The building and construction industry must address and solve increasingly complex problems. This demands knowledge and experience from different engineering specialists, organisations and stakeholders.

Therefore, it is common sense to assume that different people must join forces and co-create solutions. By combining different expertise and backgrounds, it is possible to make two plus two become way more than four. In order to achieve this, various stakeholders and different actors along the value chain have no choice but to come together, establish shared goals and work together to define the problems and to find smart solutions.  

As a result, interaction, or cooperation, has become the most repeated mantra in the building and construction industry. 

The research is in line with common sense. Cooperation, interdisciplinary leadership and good communication can contribute to increased values when demanding projects are to be completed, concludes Sebastiano Lombardo, Adjunct Associate Professor at BI Norwegian Business School.

Destroys value

Even though both research and common sense support the cooperation mantra, numerous collaborative projects result in little, or even negative value creation. Sometimes, two plus two can actually become less than four.

So, what are people doing that ends up destroying value?

Together with colleagues from the Univeristy of Cagliary (Italy), Lombardo has completed a study of around 40 projects within the construction and industrial production industry, in order to identify the causes for failed collaborations (or “value co-destruction practices” as researchers call them).

– The results of interaction-based projects depend mostly on how the parties handle the resources they bring into the collaboration, Lombardo argues.

Companiesbring four main types of resources into collaborations: their network, their reputation, their financial wealth and their expertise, both in the subject area and for the task at hand.  

When the different agents collaborate in a project, the total amount of resources they dispose of can either increase, decrease or remain unchanged.

Four signs of toxic collaboration

Researchers have identified four separate recurring patterns in cooperative efforts that contribute to destroying value rather than creating it:

1. Denying access to resources: This is the most common destructive practice encountered by the researchers. Typical findings include partners who withhold information concerning budget, costs or risks. They do not provide each other with already proposed solutions. They keep relevant business relationships hidden, obstruct advisors from providing their insights and avoid acknowledging the good reputation of others.

2. Misuse of resources: An unnecessary amount of time is spent participating in poorly planned and executed meetings. Information is misused to delay or boycott decision processes. Researchers found examples of unnecessary use of specialist expertise, an unwillingness to follow advice from specialists when it is required of them, misuse of collaborator’s budgets and resources, as well as a misuse of trust-based relationships.

3. Insufficient resource integration:

Poor planning of how the resources should be used, is also a recurring theme. Decision-makers are included too late in the solution development phase. Suppliers who deliver products for the final solution are not permitted to contribute in the development of solutions. Specialists are not included in due time, because their field of expertise is erroneously considered as being “of less importance”.

4. Incorrect use of resources: Collaborators either include decision-makers too early or too late. They allocate too little or too much budget funds. They recruit co-workers who refuse to cooperate with each other. Finally, they connect non-complementary competency profiles together.

This is the cure

Thus, collaboration can therefore become toxic and ruin values in interaction-based projects. Luckily, there is a cure.

Lombardo highlights four indicators of successful interaction-based projects as a key to create value through cooperation:

1. There has to be a genuine desire to create values together among all parties.

2. Pitfalls should be recognised early, so that people can be conscious of them and their own practice.

3. Dissolving destructive practices demand endurance. Destructive practice must be courageously  cknowledged whenever it arises, and actively used as a springboard for learning. Time needs to be invested in this.

4. Common courtesy is not sufficient when it comes to avoiding destructive practices and co-creation of value. The most proficient ones use a great deal of energy on this.

– Interaction is more important than ever, the BI researcher emphasises.

According to him, more knowledge about the causes of toxic collaboration could help collaboration partners to recognise when they risk to co-destroy value and take action to change their practice before it is too late. That increases dramatically the chance for successful collaborations.

References:

Lombardo S. and Cabiddu F.: What’s in it for me? Capital, value and co-creation practices. Industrial Marketing Management, 61, (2017).

Frau M., Lombardo S. and Cabiddu F.: Value Co-destruction: a practice-based approach. Submitted to the Journal of Service Research for evaluation.

Comments?:

Send your comments and questions regarding this article by E-mail to forskning@bi.no

Text: Audun Farbrot, Head of Science Communication, BI Norwegian Business School.


 

Questions about this article? Other questions? Contact BI Business Review

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