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Discussion: Simple model for Collaborative Group WorkReported This is a featured thread

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KenOtter
Simple model for Collaborative Group Work
Aug 5 2009, 3:06 PM EDT | Post edited: Aug 5 2009, 3:21 PM EDT
This simple model was derived from a 13 month research project by Mat Schwarzman, Linda Sartor and Ken Otter while doctoral students at the California Institute of Integral Studies in 1995. Using Collaborative Inquiry methodology facilitated by Elizabeth Kasl, Mat, Linda and Ken, studied the experience of several groups engaged in collaborative work. This is the outline of their findings. I would love to here from others on how this reflects other people's experience in collaboration in groups.


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KenOtter
1. Here is the outline:
Aug 5 2009, 3:10 PM EDT | Post edited: Aug 5 2009, 3:12 PM EDT

I. VALUES OF IDEAL COLLABORATION

A) The infrastructure of the group ought to be developed and determined by the group.

B) Authority, power, and leadership ought to be shared by members of the group.

C) Shared meaning-making should be fostered.

D) Individual and group development ought to be viewed as mutually enhancing.

E) A group purpose ought to be agreed-upon collectively.

F) Facilitation should be practiced in service to the group's collective purpose.


II. STRATEGIES FOR COLLABORATION

A) Emphasize inquiry over advocacy.

B) View all perspectives as potentially valid.

C) Provide reassurances about the challenges inherent in collaboration.

D) Attend to development of group skills needed for collaboration.

E) Foreground group goals and purposes throughout.

F) Create opportunities for members to cultivate interpersonal connections.

G) Encourage reflection as a regular feature of group life.


III. EVIDENCE OF COLLABORATION

A) All members actively participate.

B) Roles are not rigidly fixed or permanent.

C) Agreements are articulated and operationalized.

D) Meaning is constructed by the group as a whole.

E) Varied perspectives are registered and encouraged.

F) When conflict occurs, members attend to it with an eye towards the potential benefit it may hold for the group.

G) Unexpected meanings, decisions and other results get made.

H) Members articulate differing perspectives held by one another in a similar fashion.

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creinelt
2. Collaboration Learning
Aug 6 2009, 2:26 PM EDT | Post edited: Aug 6 2009, 2:26 PM EDT
Thanks Ken for sharing this. From my perspective this outline articulates a lot of the most important values, strategies and evidence of collaboration. In terms of strategy I also think its important to create space for storytelling and sharing feelings. Perhaps that is covered by cultivating interpersonal connections, but I thought it was worth a separate mention since we've found it is so critical to how you build longer-lasting interpersonal connections. On the evidence front, I wonder if we need to distinguish different levels and types of participation. We are trying to do that as part of the LNE initiative because we want to recognize that participation takes many forms, some more active than others, and that participation ebbs and flows with all of us being more active some times than others. I look forward to continued dialogue on this topic. What do others think about this list? What would you add or clarify from your experience? Do you find this valuable?    

KenOtter
3. RE: Collaboration Learning
Aug 7 2009, 12:25 PM EDT | Post edited: Aug 7 2009, 12:25 PM EDT
" "
Thank you for your additional ideas and input. I think it is worth being more explicit about many of the strategies in the model. And certainly sharing stories and feelings is key. Your point about distinguishing different levels and types of participation is also helpful, if only for the reason that people feel affirmed in their various preferences, but also in how certain dynamics bring forth different responses which also need to be valued.

And in revisiting this outline, I noticed it still seemed to be useful but I realize that it could use updating from my own experience over the years, but also from others, so I appreciate any and all input.
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btener
4. RE: Collaboration Learning
Jun 2 2010, 9:27 PM EDT | Post edited: Jun 2 2010, 9:28 PM EDT
What I have found important in fostering collaboration is opportunities for people to work together on joint projects, particularly things that are already on their plates. Under Strategies for Collaboration, I suggest including something about finding opportunities for people to work together on tangible projects or joint goals. When I consider the collaborations I've participated in that really lasted, they tended to be those that moved beyond conversation and sharing to working together in an active way.

I agree with Claire that participation can ebb and flow within a collaborative group yet the level or value of collaboration among sub-sets of people within the group or the group as a whole can still remain high. It's worth exploring this question relating to the emphasis on all members of the group participating.
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KenOtter
5. RE: Collaboration Learning
Jun 2 2010, 11:34 PM EDT | Post edited: Jun 2 2010, 11:34 PM EDT
"What I have found important in fostering collaboration is opportunities for people to work together on joint projects, particularly things that are already on their plates. sharing to working together in an active way. "
You make a very important point to add to the model the importance of working tangible and existing joint projects. The experiences that provided the data for the research were in fact such projects. So making the implicit explicit makes very good sense. Thank you for calling attention to this.
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