Creating a Culture of Collaboration:
The International Association of Facilitators Handbook
Sandor Schuman, Editor
Collaboration Heralded in Diverse Fields
Excerpted from Creating a Culture of Collaboration, Sandor Schuman, editor, Jossey-Bass, 2006. Exhibit P.1. pp. xxiv-xxvi.
Business Week highlighted the collaborative efforts of Procter & Gamble, Intuit, and other corporations to achieve their business goals (“Collaboration,” 2005).
“Casting Collaboration,” an article published in Appliance Design, highlighted the increasing use of collaborative engineering (also referred to as cooperative engineering, concurrent engineering, or joint engineering) to “lower overall cost, while improving quality and production efficiency” (Baran, 2005, p. 32).
Commenting on a recent joint agreement for the protection of the 5 million–acre Great Bear Rain Forest, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell said, “There's a new era dawning in British Columbia. You have to establish what you value, and work together. This collaboration is something we have to take into the future, and it is something the world can learn from” (Krauss, 2006).
Researchers are exploring the evolutionary and biological bases for collaboration. Recent studies show that chimpanzees collaborate effectively when they profit directly and that humans cooperate even when they don’t benefit themselves (Silk, 2006).
The United States’ Government Accountability Office found that “the federal government faces a series of challenges in the 21st century that will be difficult, if not impossible, for any single agency to address alone” and identified “key practices that can help enhance and sustain federal agency collaboration” (Government Accountability Office, 2005, pp. 5–6).
Collaborative Governance: A Guide for Grantmakers, published by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, described collaborative governance as “an emerging set of concepts and practices that offer prescriptions for inclusive, deliberative, and often consensus-oriented approaches to planning, problem solving, and policymaking” and, quoting Frank and Denie Weil, “a new level of social/political engagement between and among the several sectors of society that constitutes a more effective way to address many of modern societies’ needs beyond anything that the several sectors have heretofore been able to achieve on their own” (Henton, Melville, Amsler, and Kopell, 2005, p. 1).
Health and Social Work
In an article published in the journal Health and Social Work, the authors carefully laid out the evidence for collaboration: “Nurse and physician collaborative practice in intensive care units has been found to improve patient outcomes and nurse satisfaction. … Teamwork among physicians, nurses, and social workers reduced readmission to the hospital, reduced physician office visits, and helped older adults with chronic illnesses maintain their health status. … Collaboration among social workers and psychologists, physical therapists, and other health providers has been found to enhance the ability of these providers to meet clients' service needs, to better understand clients, to solve complex problems, and to successfully implement treatment plans ” (Parker-Oliver, Bronstein, and Kurzejeski, 2005, p. 280).
Library and Information Professions
“Fostering a Spirit of Collaboration,” published in Information Today, noted that “Cooperative projects between libraries and other organizations are proliferating. … Information professionals actively seek partners and develop projects to reach out to new groups” (Gregory, 2006, p. 42).
“The Power of Collaboration,” in the American Journal of Medical Quality, reviewed various mechanisms used to improve medical quality and patient safety (Keroack, 2005).
In Collaborative Regional Initiatives, published by the James Irvine Foundation, evaluators found that “collaborative efforts that engage participants from multiple sectors are more likely to produce workable solutions to challenges than business-as-usual approaches” (Innes and Rongerude, 2005, p. x).
A special issue of Psychology of Music devoted to “the collaborative aspects of music making” found a number of factors underpinning collaboration in that field: “effective communication between the participants, whether this is verbal, nonverbal and/or musical, … the existence of a shared frame of reference for the task accompanied by mutual understanding, … [and] mutual understanding at a more personal level of each other’s individual styles and preferences.” (Miell, 2006, p. 147).
Parks and Recreation
“Natural Collaborations,” an article in Parks and Recreation, provided case examples showing how collaboration “can provide answers to the budgetary epidemic that is infecting our park systems nationwide” (Trute, 2005, p. 61).
The Canadian Public Health Association published a “guide to collaborative processes involved in a wide range of situations and issues in health policy development. Its purpose is to foster awareness, dialogue and action in support of sustainable collaborative relationships” (Tomlinson and Strachan, 2005).
Acknowledging the growth of scientific collaboration and its “powerful transformation of scientific work” (Hackett, 2005, p. 667), the journal Social Studies of Science devoted a special issue to the status and future of scientific collaboration.
Noting that “collaboration establishes the basis for learning from experience and sharing knowledge,” Steve Denning (2005, p. 175) provided extensive guidance for using storytelling to build collaborative organizations.