Collaboration and Task Complexity: An Explorative Study Into how Task Complexity Affects Indivuals’ Willingness to Collaborate and with Whom

Bianca Sage Pollock & Benedikt Michael Hagner

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger


Continuous and extensive developments in technology, as well as rapid changes in customer preferences have led to innovation becoming increasingly important for firms to gain competitive advantage. It is widely recognised that collaboration is useful for driving innovation, especially under complex circumstances, and that team composition plays an important role for collaboration outcome. However, little is known about individual collaboration preferences. This explorative study aims to reduce this knowledge gap by analysing preferences regarding when individuals choose to collaborate and which collaboration partner characteristics they value, under three different task complexity levels.
In order to build an understanding of these relationships, an online survey was conducted. Survey participants were presented with three different task scenarios and asked whether they would choose to collaborate for the task or work individually. Those who chose to collaborate were then presented with several ‘collaboration partner characteristics’ and asked to indicate which characteristics would be important to them in an ideal collaboration partner, and in what order. The survey also included several control variables to control for general willingness to collaborate and complexity perception, in addition to open-ended questions asking respondents to explain their choices.
Overall, the study found a significantly positive relationship between task complexity and choice to collaborate, where increased task complexity leads to increased willingness to collaborate. Regarding preference of partner characteristics, the study illustrated a high tendency across all tasks of valuing most importantly functional aspects, such as practical experience or knowledge in the task area. Additionally, homogeneity of attitudes and heterogeneity of skills and knowledge were preferred consistently across all levels of complexity.

UddannelserCand.merc.mib Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
Antal sider118
VejledereMarion Poetz