[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: Collaboration

Chris, in my view the object of collaboration is an important element in structuring collaboration and understanding it, and you are right, also, in my view, that collaboration has an important dimension of time involved. In both connections it is important how the object changes. And I don't think there is any "downtown" when it comes to the meanings, connotations and differences between cooperation and collaboration.
*Andy Blunden*
On 19/04/2016 10:34 AM, Christopher Schuck wrote:
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 <mailto: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 Blunden*
    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.


        -----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
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>; eXtended Mind,
        Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
        Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Collaboration

        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)
        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"

        *Andy Blunden*
        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

            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

            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

            The danger with PISA's definition is there is
            really no mechanism for change.  Should
            collaboration have a mechanism for change or

            Thoughts running around my head.


            -----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

            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

            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

            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 Blunden*
            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


                    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.

                a tive%20Problem%20Solving%20Framework%20.pdf