Collaboration is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together in an intersection of common goals — for example, an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature—by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. Collaboration does not require leadership and can sometimes bring better results through decentralization and egalitarianism. In particular, teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources.Collaboration is also present in opposing goals exhibiting the notion of adversarial collaboration, though this is not a common case for using the term.
Structured methods of collaboration encourage introspection of behavior and communication. These methods specifically aim to increase the success of teams as they engage in collaborative problem solving. Forms, rubrics, charts and graphs are useful in these situations to objectively document personal traits with the goal of improving performance in current and future projects.
Since the Second World War the term "Collaboration" acquired a very negative meaning as referring to persons and groups which help a foreign occupier of their country—due to actual use by people in European countries who worked with and for the Nazi German occupiers. Linguistically, "collaboration" implies more or less equal partners who work together—which is obviously not the case when one party is an army of occupation and the other are people of the occupied country living under the power of this army.
In order to make a distinction, the more specific term Collaborationism is often used for this phenomenon of collaboration with an occupying army. However, there is no water-tight distinction; "Collaboration" and "Collaborator", as well as "Collaborationism" and "Collaborationist", are often used in this pejorative sense—and even more so, the equivalent terms in French and other languages spoken in countries which experienced direct Nazi occupation.