Abstract:Unique in their approach to unraveling the complexity of collaboration, Heath & Isbell introduce novice readers to foundational concepts centered around three key assertions:
Interorganizational collaboration is complex and warrants study as a specific type of leadership and communication
Successful collaborative relationships are grounded in a principled ethic of democratic and egalitarian participation
Interorganizational collaboration requires a specific communication language of practice
From a constructionist stance, the authors delineate interorganizational collaboration as influenced by increased interconnectedness, shifting organizational needs, and a changing workforce. Unlike group and organizational texts that approach collaboration from a functional or strategic perspective, this insightful text anchors collaboration in the assumption that democratic and principled communication fosters creative and accountable outcomes.
Readers will cultivate their ability to recognize and validate the needs of others, separate people's positions from underlying interests, listen for things never quite said, identify overlapping commonalities, build trust while respecting difference, navigate conflict, and plan for contingencies. They will be ready to participate in constructive collaborations and make the best decisions based on specific circumstances.