So far we’ve discussed a variety of issues and perspectives about the levels of the Taxonomy called Dialogue and Peer Review. Both of these levels of collaboration describe activities and tasks—getting acquainted, exchanging ideas, making plans, reviewing and discussing increments of a project-- related to communication. Communication is essential throughout the collaborative process.
Researchers who study communication in collaboration describe a "deliberative dialogue" which is distinct from other kinds of discourse, " because the objective is not so much to talk together as to think together" . The potential for thinking together collaboratively builds from a discursively constructed collective identity (Hardy et al., 2005). A collective identity “names” the group and allows participants to “construct themselves, the problem and the solution as part of the collaborative framework in which the potential for joint action is both significant and beneficial” (p. 63).
Moving from individual to collective thinking, individuals balance the common constructions negotiated and agreed upon with c ollaborative partners; and private constructions that allow each one to make sense of and express issues in their own terms (p. 66-67).
In practical terms--we’ve discussed the importance of building personal trust between collaborative partners, and strategic trust that process will be fair as well as beneficial. So and one way we can observe progress is by seeing the way the collaborative partners name “our” way of doing things, our project—instead of my project. The level of complexity in the composiiton of the group, the entry of new members or change in desired outcomes may mean this kind of communication is not completed with the formation of the group.
Moving on to discuss other levels of the Taxonomy; these levels describe ways people organize their work together.
- Parallel collaboration. When a project is completed using a Parallel structure, components are allocated among collaborative partners. Parallel collaboration typically involves individual work and through a process of Dialogue and Peer Review contributions are integrated into the final product.
- Sequential collaboration. When a project is completed using a Sequential structure, components of the assignment are organized into a series of progressive steps and results are combined into one collective product. Each component is dependent on successful completion of another in the series of steps. Each step typically involves individual work, and through a process of Dialogue and Peer Review contributions are integrated into the final product.
- Synergistic collaboration. When collaborative partners use a Synergistic structure, they work together through all steps and synthesize their ideas to plan, organize and complete the assignment together. Their contributions are fully meshed into collective final product.
When you work collaboratively, how do you organize your work? What tools do you use? If you teach or lead collaborative teams, how do you guide others and how much structure do you provide? What electronic tools do you use?
I look forward to hearing about your experiences-- and we'll also discuss ways to match electronic tools to collaborative process in this week's live webinar.
Hardy, C., Lawrence, T. B., & Grant, D. (2005). Discourse and collaboration: The role of conversations and collective identity. Academy of Management Review, 30(1), 58-77.
London, S. (2005). Thinking together: The power of deliberative dialogue. In R. J. Kingston (Ed.), Public Thought and Foreign Policy. Dayton: Kettering Foundation Press.