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[Xmca-l] Re: Collaboration

Hi, I'm brand new to this listserve and not necessarily well versed in the
fields of education or communication, so I apologize if any of this post is
redundant or irrelevant. I had a question about collaboration vs.
communication and this essential core feature of difference or potential
conflict. Would it be at all accurate to say that collaboration is also
bounded in some sense by the parameters of a specific project or goal, that
it adds an explicitly temporal dimension (e.g., does not continue
indefinitely), whereas cooperation refers purely to the process of working
"together" without speaking to the broader context of what this work
represents or where it is going?  It seems that one implication of what
Andy is saying is that cooperation is less "ambitious" than collaboration,
that it is more restricted or limited in some way. But must this be based
on there being no meaningful differences between the cooperators, or might
it lie in the degree of formality and structure characterizing the work
being done and level of commitment required? Or, in the way any significant
differences are regarded and incorporated?

I find it interesting that in its ordinary use, "cooperation" (at least, to
me) seems to connotes more of an initial tension between the parties
involved or some idea of compromise (those who might otherwise be in
conflict or disagreement "put aside their differences" for a larger goal,
e.g. parties to the UN cooperate with a treaty), whereas collaboration
retains and even cultivates those differences, even as those different
actors continue to work together for a larger goal that unites them. With
respect to the earlier discussion of marriage as a collaboration, I cannot
help but think of the Clintons as the paradigmatic "collaborative couple" -
yet, this does not at all strike me as a collaboration in the sense being
discussed here.

Chris S.

On Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 11:32 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Collaboration has a whole spectrum in many different directions. But I
> think the conflict is an essential part of collaboration. Collaboration is
> unity and difference. Both are required or there is no collaboration. The
> "conflict" may be trivial, but then the moment of collaboration is trivial
> as well. And the learning is trivial.
> I take collaboration as essentially between distinct, i,e, mutually
> independent subjects. If two people who are clones of each other work
> together on the same task, since their every thought is identical there is
> no conflict. Equally two employees, for example, carrying out orders from
> the same boss, work together, I don't see this as collaboration. But these
> are trivial limiting cases. All collaborators have differences relevant to
> the task at hand, and unless it is just a routine division of labour (which
> I call cooperation), or conflict is forbidden or suppressed, there has to
> be some conflict, some ripple on the waters.
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> On 19/04/2016 1:01 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:
>> Hi Larry and Andy,
>> This issue of commitment is a difficult one.  If I might bring in a
>> little bit of Mark Granovetter and Everett Rogers, marriage is a strong tie
>> relationships.  Individuals make a commitment to it, as Larry says, so that
>> the relationship is sustainable through even adversarial conflict, or does
>> not collapse at the first sign of conflict.  But most collaborations,
>> especially those that lead to problem solving, are based in weak tie
>> networks.  Do we want to say that weak ties networks can only lead to
>> cooperation.  Isn't there something to collaboration that allows
>> individuals without a prior or even sustainable relationship to come
>> together to create change through evolutionary disagreement that does not
>> engender conflict?  Is that collaboration or is it something else.
>> Michael
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
>> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Lplarry
>> Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 10:25 AM
>> To: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <
>> xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Collaboration
>> Andy,
>> This introduction of the image of marriage as the archetype of
>> collaboration certainly opens the concept of collaboration to multiple
>> aspects of *engaging conflict* or *managing conflict*.
>> To say collaboration is (like) marriage carries us into a vast field of
>> shared (and conflictual) meanings.
>> Interesting how this image opens towards the imaginal and then travels to
>> distinguishing ZPD from scaffolding.
>> To move from co-operation towards collaboration (as marriage) is moving
>> towards notions of *commitment* and *determinate relations* that remain
>> always *open to change* but within a continuing commitment/collaboration.
>> Marriage is a pregnant gestating image for engaging the concept of
>> collaboration. Marriage as socio-historically meaningful.
>> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
>> From: Andy Blunden
>> Sent: April 18, 2016 5:58 AM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Collaboration
>> The field is rife with different definitions; I choose the set of
>> definitions which suit the overall concept I am developing. Can't do
>> anything about that! But the issue of
>> *conflict* is absolutely essential. Any co-called collaboration in which
>> conflict is either suppressed or organised away is certainly not worthy of
>> the name.
>> That said, conflict has the potential always to destroy a collaboration,
>> and at the same time can be moderated so successfully that it is positively
>> enjoyable. The archetype of collaboration is marriage, so we all know what
>> this is about. Managing conflict is the most essential element of
>> collaboration, but that includes encouraging it as well as moderating it.
>> This issue has echoes of the ZPD vs "scaffolding" question.
>> Andy
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>> On 18/04/2016 10:33 PM, Glassman, Michael wrote:
>>> Hi Andy,
>>> Thanks for your response.  I would like to put aside the issue of
>>> computers which I think is extraordinarily complex (are we talking about
>>> the Internet, or the Ethernet, or the Web, or Artificial Intelligence or
>>> Augmentation?  More and more I am feeling these distinctions are critical).
>>> But your post does refer to issues I am struggling with.  There has been
>>> a lot of talk of the difference between cooperation and collaboration at a
>>> number of levels.  Right now I think I like Stephen Downes' distinction
>>> which is cooperation is engaging in community work for your own needs - so
>>> you never really give yourself up to the learning community, while
>>> collaboration involves actually creating a community.  Others I think see
>>> collaboration as the development of shared meaning while cooperation is
>>> simply (shared isn't the right word, right?) action towards a goal.  I
>>> think both to a certain degree reflect your thinking.
>>> I am interested in the idea of conflict, which I think would be
>>> antithetical to PISA's conception of collaboration, they seem to be looking
>>> to cut down on conflict as much as possible.  It also seems to work against
>>> a number of uses of collaboration in the field of education.  Does Alfie
>>> Kohn talk about collaboration - what would he say about conflict.
>>> So I'm thinking though these just working together visions of
>>> collaboration are missing that "something" and conflict, as
>>> counter-intuitive as it is to models of collaboration might make sense.
>>> But what do we mean by conflict.
>>> Is it conflict between members of the collaborative group or is it the
>>> abilities of the collaborative group to see conflict between their
>>> solutions and the realities of the world around them (I know, another
>>> loaded phrase).
>>> We also have a tendency to see conflict of adversarial.  If there is one
>>> thing I think collaboration is, it is non-adversarial in nature.  So can
>>> ideas be in conflict without individuals raising those being adversarial
>>> with each other.  What if people are adversarial to each other and yet
>>> still work together to accomplish important things, or is this
>>> cooperation?  Or is these another concept that hasn't been defined, or
>>> perhaps I am not grasping?
>>> The danger with PISA's definition is there is really no mechanism for
>>> change.  Should collaboration have a mechanism for change or innovation?
>>> Thoughts running around my head.
>>> MIchael
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
>>> Sent: Sunday, April 17, 2016 9:10 PM
>>> To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Collaboration
>>> "Collaboration" is a big word in my universe, Michael, so I'll offer
>>> some observations.
>>> Collaboration as "together working" means specifically working together
>>> to a common object (aim). That generally entails working together to change
>>> an object-of-labour (/Arbeitsgegenstand/).
>>> There is a lot of discussion about the difference between Collaboration
>>> and the etymologically identical Cooperation, much of this is in the
>>> "educational debate." As I see it, Collaboration essentially involves both
>>> cooperation and conflict. Conflict is also one form or aspect of
>>> collaboration, because the parties are working towards two opposite
>>> concepts of the same object. "Object" here therefore has a slippery
>>> meaning. It can mean the /Arbeitsgegenstand/, the object worked upon, or
>>> the Gegenstand, the object aimed for. Both ideas incorporate the
>>> possibility of difference.
>>> Collaboration essentially involves the coming together of distinct
>>> parties (or subjects). True Collaboration involves a merging of the
>>> subjectivities for the course of a single project, but there are "limiting
>>> cases" of non-collaborative collaboration. These include an exchange of
>>> labour governed by a negotiation of a contract (such as customer-service
>>> provider in which the subjects retain their mutual independence throughout)
>>> and command-and-obey (in which one subject is subordinated to another).
>>> Cooperation does not imply conflict within the working relationship
>>> usually because there is a division of labour; Collaboration on the other
>>> hand involves each party taking a critical attitude towards the
>>> contribution of the other party. o conflict is an essential ingredient to
>>> Collaboration.
>>> Collaboration is a learning process, to the extent that one could argue
>>> that learning can *only* be a Collaborative process. So Collaboration means
>>> that the object (aim) of the labour changes, because the /concept /of the
>>> object changes.
>>> Collaborators learn about the object (worked upon) in the process of
>>> working on it, and the object (aim) by realising it.
>>> In education there has been an unfortunate development in which (1)
>>> students work independently because they are physically or organisationally
>>> distant, (2) Collaboration between the students is then facilitated by the
>>> use of computer and communication equipment, (3) Students who are already
>>> face-to-face are obliged to introduce a computer between them so that their
>>> collaboration, instead of being face-to-face, mediated only by the
>>> /Arbeitsgegenstand/, they now find their Collaboration mediated by a
>>> computer. That is, "Collaboration" has come to mean the undermining of
>>> Collaboration by the use of Collaborative tools to avoid closer
>>> collaboration.
>>> And this is the danger. The education bureaucracy has heard a bit about
>>> the benefits of Collaboration as a learning process, and that Collaboration
>>> requires equipment. So they get the idea that they have to separate
>>> students or researchers from one another so that they can collaborate.
>>> Once separated the bureaucacy can provide equipment to allow students
>>> to Collaborate notwithstanding their having been separated from one
>>> another. And the same goes for
>>> students+teachers, research+industry, management+workers, etc.
>>> Does that help, Michael?
>>> Andy
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>> On 18/04/2016 6:38 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:
>>>> Hello all,
>>>> I have a question for anybody who might be willing to respond. How do
>>>> you define collaboration?  What spurs this question is that PISA is
>>>> developing a framework for testing collaboration internationally.  At first
>>>> I thought I was getting punked, but it really is happening, the framework
>>>> is at the link below.   The idea of collaboration is being used more and
>>>> more - especially in contexts that involve computer/web based research, but
>>>> it often times seems to be a placeholder.  The word only came into vogue
>>>> late nineteenth century I think -  col meaning together and labore meaning
>>>> to labor.  A lot of people who discuss collaboration invoke Vygotsky (e.g.
>>>> the PISA framework) or sometimes Dewey (Although I am kind of sure Dewey
>>>> never actually used the word collaboration, but I  might be wrong).  Anyway
>>>> the PISA document defines collaboration but in a very simplistic way I
>>>> think so that it is not wrong but not helpful.  I know there was some
>>>> research around language (being able
>>>   to
>>>     create shared meanings).  But so far to me it seems to miss the
>>>> point, but I can't think what I would replace it with.  I guess you could
>>>> call this a request for comments.  I find PISA creating a test for
>>>> collaboration kind of dangerous.
>>>> https://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/Draft%20PISA%202015%20Collabor
>>>> a tive%20Problem%20Solving%20Framework%20.pdf
>>>> Michael