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Organizational Collaboration’s Dirty Little Secret

Across companies and sectors, people are being told that collaboration and teamwork are critical to their company’s future. The time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by at least 50 percent in the past two decades.

But in fact, a small number of employees are shouldering the collaborative burden, according to the recent Harvard Business Review article “Collaborative Overload” by Rob Cross of the McIntire School of Commerce and Reb Rebele and Adam Grant of the Wharton School. In a study of over 300 organizations, the authors found that 20 to 35 percent of value-added collaborations are being generated by only 3 to 5 percent of employees.