Another Look at the Levels of Collaboration

In today’s interconnected world, effective collaboration is not just beneficial; it’s essential for success. The “Frey Levels of Collaboration Scale” provides a powerful framework for understanding and enhancing cooperative efforts, transforming how organizations and individuals work together towards common goals. This blog delves into the nuances of the scale, guiding you through each level of collaboration with practical insights and strategies to elevate your team’s performance and achieve shared success. Whether you’re part of a small initiative or a sprawling enterprise, understanding these levels will illuminate the path to more profound, efficient, and impactful teamwork.

And they are?

The Levels of Collaboration scale breaks down cooperative efforts into five progressive stages:

  1. Networking: This initial stage involves basic awareness of other organizations and loosely defined roles. Communication is minimal, and decisions are made independently.
  2. Cooperation: At this level, entities begin providing information to each other. While roles become somewhat defined, and formal communication starts, decisions remain independent.
  3. Coordination: This stage marks a shift towards sharing information and resources. Defined roles and frequent communication encourage some shared decision-making.
  4. Coalition: Entities share ideas and resources more significantly. Communication becomes frequent and prioritized, with all members having a vote in decision-making.
  5. Collaboration: The pinnacle of the scale, where members operate as a unified system characterized by frequent, trust-based communication and a consensus on all decisions.

Understanding these levels helps organizations identify their current collaboration status and what steps they might take to enhance their cooperative efforts.

Implications for Evaluation Practice

Evaluators, grant directors, and stakeholders can use the Levels of Collaboration scale to quantitatively assess and report on the degree of collaboration. This approach is particularly useful in identifying disparities in perception among partners and serves as a starting point for discussion and improvement. By understanding each level’s characteristics, entities can set realistic goals for advancement in collaborative efforts, thereby enhancing overall effectiveness and efficiency.

Applying the Levels of Collaboration Scale

Here are some practical steps for using the Levels of Collaboration scale:

  • Assess Current Level: Organizations can use the scale to assess their current level of collaboration with each partner. This understanding helps in setting appropriate goals for improvement.
  • Identify Areas for Improvement: By comparing perceived levels of collaboration among partners, organizations can identify areas needing attention and improvement.
  • Set Progressive Goals: Entities can set goals to move from one level to the next, focusing on enhancing communication, defining roles, and fostering trust.


The “Frey Levels of Collaboration Scale” provides a valuable framework for understanding and enhancing collaboration. By recognizing where they stand on the scale, entities can take targeted steps toward more effective and efficient cooperation, ultimately leading to better outcomes for all involved parties. Whether you are part of a small team or a large organization, understanding and applying the principles of this scale can lead to more significant achievements and more robust partnerships.

Remember, collaboration is not just about working together; it’s about working together effectively. As you strive to improve your collaborative efforts, consider where you stand on the Levels of Collaboration scale and what steps you can take to enhance your collective journey towards shared goals.