Want Collaboration? Accept - and Actively Manage - Conflict

Jeff Weiss and Jonathan Hughes

As seen in the Harvard Business Review OnPoint, "Collaboration That Works," Spring 2014 edition.

Companies try all kinds of ways to improve collaboration among different parts of the organization: cross-unit incentive systems, organizational restructuring, teamwork training.

Although these initiatives produce occasional success stories, most have only a limited impact on dismantling organizational silos and fostering collaboration. The problem? Most companies focus on the symptoms ("Sales and delivery do not work together as closely as they should") rather than on the root cause of failures in cooperation: conflict. The fact is, you can't improve collaboration until you've addressed the issue of conflict.

Originally published in Harvard Business Review, March 2005