The Main Differences
Consultation and collaboration are two important concepts in the world of business and counseling for many professionals (Dougherty 6). The two processes are closely related since they offer the opportunity for engaging in cooperative relationships with others in a work setting. The processes tend to engage more than a single person who works together with the goal of addressing a problem, stimulating change, sharing resources, and utilizing particular information towards a specific objective. The two terms might be related, but they suggest completely different things. Consultation suggests a situation where the organization or an individual hires an expert as a onetime project. On the other hand, collaboration is a more long-term process where there is a partnership in dealing with the situation or achieving a goal.
While collaboration is more active in that the people involved all work together, sharing resources and information to achieve the goal, consultation is much more reactive. The latter involves using the resources and information in a manner that the consultant offers advice on how the goal should be achieved or reacting to a project that has been accomplished (Dougherty 7-10). While collaboration has some context or the sense of the wider picture, consultation lacks that broad aspect. In collaboration, the end product is normally greater than when people are working on their own.
Information Added to the Discussion
In a clinical counseling setting, consultation suggests a process that is more reactive and passive in nature. Indeed, this is where the client is asking for the expert counsel or advice of the counselor. Such is different from the situation where the client and the counselor work collaboratively towards finding the solution to a problem. While there could be a reciprocal interaction in a consultation, the idea is that the input of the consultant and the consultee(s) is not at the equal level since the consultant is known to have a higher level of knowledge on the issues than the consultee(s). During the phases of the process, the role of the consultant is evidently superior because of the wealth of knowledge and skills he/she has (Dougherty 44-45). While the consultee has a role in the process, it is by helping the consultant to place the problem in context.
A Case Study in an Organization
A client comes into the an organization setting expecting to get excellent service. The organization, in this case, deals with marketing of information systems. The organization did not have a team of experts in all matters involving information systems, and occasionally the firm would rely on the services of a consultant to work with the client and offer counsel in relation to what an information system suit their business context. The situation involves use of the resources of the organization, between the consultant and the client, but not on the same level. From the experience, it is evident that the consultant has a higher level of expertise on the particular matter in question. Such would not be collaboration, whether between the client and the expert or between the expert and the employees of the organization since there was no pooling of resources, backgrounds, experiences, or knowledge (Dougherty 35). In essence, the company was using the expertise of the consultant.