Collaborations can be tense and complex. Based on interviews and an extensive review of research, this tool responds to the question: How can managers improve competitor collaboration to advance sustainability. It covers:
- Reflect on where you would like to land in terms of your collaboration, and how to get there.
- Outline practices and structure of your collaboration.
- Learn tips and best practices to adapt your collaboration to better meet your goals.
Dealing with Inevitable Tensions
When collaborating with competitors, tensions are inevitable. Firms accustomed to competing are suddenly working together.
Our research has identified two core tensions. These tensions can undermine an initiative’s success or, if managed well, can support the collaboration’s desired outcomes. This tool will help you manage these tensions.
- Cooperation-competition relates to a firm’s decision about issues such as how much knowledge to share, how much ownership to take, and whether to implement decisions made in the collaboration within individual firms.
- Informal-formal structure relates to whether the collaboration uses informal approaches to establish trust and complete tasks, or has a more formal structure (e.g. written agreements and monitoring).
“We meet face-to-face, but like everybody else, to try to have less travel, we tried to do webinars and three people showed up instead of 15 people at the face-to-face. We asked ‘Why, what happened?’ ... And they said, ‘I don't get the value out of a webinar — I just sit at my desk and listen to you talk.’ We get huge value from the face-to-face because we get to interact with our peers. We get to talk during breaks. That is worth it for me.”
– Bob Larocque, Senior Director, Environment and Labour Market Policies, Forest Products Association of Canada (excerpt from assessment tool)
Get more tools to start collaborating with your competition.
You can also check out the project description for this research.