The Difference Between Interaction and Collaboration

Though the words “interaction” and “collaboration” are sometimes used interchangeably, they don’t have the same meaning. Understanding the differences between the two and defining the types of interaction and collaboration organizations need can help planners support desired behaviors.

Interaction is a broad term that encompasses casual collisions and socializing that leads to building relationships, trust, and other factors critical to the social fabric of a group or organization. While these expanding social contacts are extremely valuable (albeit underappreciated in many organizations), not all interactions rise to the level of collaboration.

Collaboration, by comparison, involves much more than casual encounters at the company café, or even catching up on the status of a shared project. To collaborate, individuals or organizations must share knowledge and work together in pursuit of a common goal.