COOPERATION AND COLLECTIVE ACTION AND ITS PROSPECT TO COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE IN GLOBAL GERMAN COMPANIES
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Contemporary business organisations face a fierce struggle to survive in a global economic environment which is increasingly characterised by rapid change and transitions. Against the backdrop of such burgeoning competition, corporations are confronted with diminishing innovation, rising customer expectations as well as a workforce distributed across the globe. These factors converge to create a pressing need for companies to organise effective application of employees’ knowledge, skills and experiences. As the changes within the global environment constrain the ability of organisations to adapt to these transitions, they must seek recourse to mechanisms that enable them to proactively tackle economic and social change. To cope with these uncertainties, research points to the need for organisations to practise flexible leadership that fosters collective intelligence (CI) amongst organisational members, learning and implicit expertise within the organisation and knowledge-sharing. Keeping in view the importance of “collective intelligence [as] a way [to generate] new forms and ways of delivering goods and services through forms of co-creation and co-production or peer production” (Peters, 2021; 6), the study´s objective was to investigate the linkage between cooperation combined with collective action in relation to the development of Collective Intelligence in German business organisations. Adopting a phenomenological approach grounded in constructivism, the current study applied Axelrod’s Theory of cooperation and Olson´s Theory of Collective Action to address how cooperation theory can help increase group collective intelligence (CI) arising as a result of collaboration between organisational members. The goal was to evaluate the impact that Cooperation (CO) and Collective Action (CA) have on one another as mediating factors for CI adaptation as well as the variations in behaviours or points of view between employees and managers in the chosen German organisations. Adopting a phenomenological approach, the study used purposive sampling to select participants with insights into knowledge related to CI and how these might influence collaboration inside the company. To this end, thirteen managers and 28 team members were interviewed to collect data related to the phenomenon under investigation. Based on analysis of data, the study revealed the existence of interconnectivity between Collective Intelligence, Cooperation and Collective Action in organisational work and employees’ roles. The findings demonstrated the pivotal role of leaders in mobilizing team members and employees. The structure of the organisation and the reliance on hierarchies was observed by employees to hinder the free flow of creative ideas and timely feedback. Interestingly, the motivation to engage in cooperative activities and collaboration was found to be linked to job security, suggesting that the lack of permanent contracts could hinder team members from engaging in collaboration within the workplace. Deadlines and time pressure were found to be inconducive to productivity, motivation and creativity, whereas having the flexibility to complete a task in one’s own way was revealed to be motivating for some of the staff members. To sum up, this dissertation demonstrated how leadership, work environment, job security are just some of the many identified factors of influence on whether or not organisational collaboration transpires. The study also presents key recommendations and perspectives on how to effectively interact with individuals so as to increase group collective intelligence in an administrative or organisational setting.