The rationale for collaboration is the ability to do in a group what one individual could not possibly do alone. Specific incentives for collaborations include the size of the task, the time constraints, and the level expertise needed. In order to collaborate effectively, individuals must offer ideas and experiences, and be willing to accept the consensus and identity of the group. These enables the knowledge and expertise of the group to transcend that of any single collaborator . This type of ideal collaboration requires hard work especially in terms of overcoming conflict, and coordinating activities in order to come to a shared understanding. Based on the definition and goal of collaboration, one can see disincentives for collaboration. With a group effort there is the concern for how individuals will be reviewed and rewarded (or punished) for their contributions. Another issue (especially pertinent to collaborative authoring) is who gets the credit and more specifically whose name appears first. (In most cases, all but the first authors name is listed in a citation.) This issue of receiving credit relates to scientific competition and the need to publish one's ideas before someone else does. These topics allude to the social and political aspects of collaboration.
One key issue of collaboration is group formation--determining what qualifications of expertise is needed, and what individuals should be members. In many cases, expertise is not the determining factor for selection. Issues related to the motivation for desiring membership in a group influence productivity. Changes in group membership relate to maintaining the group's momentum as well as concerns about access to the contributions of former members. Power structures among group members and the formation of sub-groups can have a positive or negative influence on the group's performance.
Another social and political aspect of collaboration is task identification and assignment. While all tasks are important in terms of effectively meeting the goals of the group, certain tasks may be more desirable because they are considered more important by the organizational culture. This can lead to difficulty in getting the other tasks completed. Alternative agendas of group members can significantly influence the quality of the group's product, especially if they are in conflict with the overall purpose or goal of the project. One other concern is the identification and assignment of roles. Role assignment issues include identification of a leader (if any) and how this individual will function.
The working relationships of members, as related to ranks/position in organization can affect the product. For example, with collaborative authoring, a person who is of high rank may receive credit for producing the document even though s/he contributing very little if any to the document. Keeping a record of each members contributions is an important aspect of collaboration. Changes in the commitment of team members is another situation that has the potential to seriously influence quality. Too, differences in communication patterns and styles, and the potential for miscommunication are also important facets in collaboration. These are some of the factors that affect the collaborative efforts.