2 Challenges of Cross-Agency Collaboration …Or… …Confessions of a Boundary Rider… Images sourced from L – lack of scientific rigour B – broad generalisations A – anecdotal information
3 From: Myers, David.G. (1996, 5th edition); Social Psychology, NY, Mc Graw-Hill, S. 339 ff Agenda Why collaborate? Types of Collaboration Group Dynamics – My Tribe, Your Tribe, Diatribe Communication – crossing the boundaries Lessons Learned Summary
4 Why Collaborate? Collaboration Happens Everywhere: Relationships Family Work Communities People collaborate for lots of reasons: For personal gain For shared gain Fun Others… Survival
5 Types of Collaboration Mandatory Collaboration Marked by: Autocratic and authoritative style Hierarchical Centralised approach Voluntary Collaboration Marked by: Democratic style Distribution of power
6 Group Dynamics – My Tribe, Your Tribe, Diatribe Setting up a group Boundaries created “Us” and “Them” Culture, especially language Customs – “the way things are” Tribal Awareness Sizes and types of tribes vary Subsets exist Primary and Secondary Tribal Identification The pejorative of collaboration
7 Communication – Crossing the Boundaries Who are the “boundary riders” Those who can communicate across cultural boundaries and engender a shared vision. A new “hybrid” tribe is created. New customs, traditions, language, celebrations. The shared language and the bi-linguists.
8 Lessons Learned (i) Promote the shared concept Communicate all the time – to everyone Identify the “other” Brand and bond the group – reinforce the shared identity Celebrate shared achievements Support the group - infrastructure
9 Lessons Learned (ii) Be “multi-lingual” incorporate some of the tribes’ language into the group Use open standards Develop governance that ensures commitment at senior levels Balance autocracy and democracy
10 Groupthink gets ugly: Bob Larner The Daily – University of Washington Student Newspaper Summary Collaboration is worthwhile and often more successful than individual effort There is much to be learned from the science of social dynamics. Knowing how groups form and are sustained can be useful. Understanding of culture and language is crucial. Learn about the culture of the participants. Dysfunction can function.