This class was cancelled and replaced with an afternoon session.
In today’s global economy, where real-time product development occurs continuously, collaboration is essential. Cultivating a truly collaborative culture, however, is not easy. This interactive class will explore why collaboration is so difficult and how leaders can, through implementing the right strategies and tools, cultivate a culture of collaboration.
What is a culture of collaboration, why does it matter, and why is everyone talking about it? In today’s global economy where real-time product development occurs continuously, collaboration is essential. And while the business culture requires collaborative interactions to develop products around the world, a truly collaborative culture is not so easy to cultivate. Information products are no exception.
The instructor will highlight compelling research on why collaboration is so difficult and how leaders can, through implementing the right strategies and tools, cultivate a culture of collaboration. Class topics will include collaboration as a leadership practice; barriers to collaboration, such as innovation, hoarding, and knowledge transfer; theoretical perspectives on why collaboration barriers occur; solutions for overcoming those barriers, such as t-shaped management, networks, and enablers; and tools for assessing an organization’s collaborative potential. To help class participants get started on building a culture of collaboration, the instructor will also introduce a sample collaboration map and action plan that participants can adapt for use in their organization.
The class format includes large-group discussion, lecture (no more than 35 minutes), and small-group activities. During this interactive class, participants will have opportunities to share collaboration challenges in their organizations and to work together to identify strategies for overcoming those challenges. The instructor will also lead the class in one or two small-group collaboration activities.
Key Learning Objectives
- Understand why a culture of collaboration is critical to achieving business goals.
- Learn why successful collaboration requires both the motivation to collaborate and the ability to do so.
- Identify four primary barriers to collaboration—innovation, hoarding, access to information, and knowledge transfer—and understand why these barriers occur.
- Determine what collaboration solutions, such building a network of alliances and implementing enablers, will help you overcome these barriers.
- Share collaboration challenges with peers and begin work on a collaboration map and action plan for your organization.
- Technical communication managers and teams struggling to work effectively together.
- Anyone interested in better understanding why collaboration is so difficult and why multi-dimensional solutions to collaboration are essential to achieving desired results.
Recommended Reading (before class meets, if possible)
“Building a Collaborative Writing Strategy.” CIDM Best Practices 13.3 (June 2011): 57, 61–70. Rebekka
Andersen and Charlotte Robidoux, authors.
Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results. Morten Hansen,
author. Harvard Business Press, 2009.
Recommended Activity (before class, if possible)
Use Morten Hansen’s online assessment tools to quickly assess how your organization or unit measure up according to the principles of disciplined collaboration, as described in Hansen’s book, Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results.
Go to http://www.thecollaborationbook.com/s2.php to access tools to help you evaluate collaboration opportunities, spot barriers to collaboration, tailor collaboration solutions, and assess how you stack up against a collaborative leadership style. Complete all four surveys, if possible, and bring the results to class. You will have an opportunity to share survey results in small groups in class and discuss what the results suggest about how best to move forward.
Rebekka Andersen is an assistant professor in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis, where she teaches courses in professional and technical communication and digital literacy. Her research focuses on the diffusion of content management technologies in information-development teams. She studies diffusion inhibitors and facilitators, with a particular focus on the shaping forces of collaboration, communication, and culture. Rebekka has worked as a technical writer and editor and process documentation specialist. She has authored numerous articles in both best practices and peer-reviewed publications, and she regularly presents her research at both academic and industry conferences.