The point of collaboration is to combine different skills and attributes. But collaborators do not just come with desirable differences to be harnessed. Some differences get in the way of collaboration and must be managed for the research to proceed. Whether a difference is useful or problematic depends on the particulars of the collaboration.
There are existing methods that can be drawn on to both harness and manage differences. In particular, differences must first be understood and there are methods for describing differences in personality, cultural norms, mental models, emotional intelligence, team role skills and epistemologies, which need to be compiled into useful toolkits applicable to collaborations. Dialogue methods may also be useful for harnessing and managing differences.
Digital poster: Bammer, G. (2013). Collaboration = harnessing and managing difference, digital poster #502, from the First Global Conference on Research Integration and Implementation, Canberra, Australia, online and at co-conferences in Germany, the Netherlands and Uruguay, 8-11 September, 2013. You can access this digital poster as a PowerPoint presentation or PDF: http://i2sconference.digitalposter.com.au/posters-list/502.
Posted: November 2014
Last modified: July 2015