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[Xmca-l] Re: Collaboration



Chris,
“Negotiation” appeals to me as well. I associate it with the negotiation of meaning between people, as well as the negotiation of the of the environment in reaching an objective. Intersubjectivity and interobjectivity. 
Henry
  
> On Apr 19, 2016, at 4:24 PM, Christopher Schuck <schuckthemonkey@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> "I consider cooperation to mean that there is sacrifice involved if
> conflict arises, specifically I mean in the sense of accommodation."
> 
> That's exactly what I was trying to get at earlier, in questioning minimal
> differences as a defining feature of cooperation. Thanks for this extremely
> helpful synposis, Annalisa!
> 
> "I do think we've identified a possible need for a different word than
> "conflict" though, for its negative or adversarial connotation....How about
> "negotiation"? would that be a better word than "conflict"? Negotiation
> coincides with cooperation and collaboration."
> 
> Negotiation strikes me as one particular expression of cooperation that
> emphasizes the transactional (dialectical?) back-and-forth, specifically
> discursive/conversational process often required. So it's a great example
> for clarifying what cooperation is, but maybe it's narrower? That is,
> negotiation is focused on the terms and conditions (also points of
> similarity and difference) around which people are coming closer together.
> through dialogue. Or to put it another way: negotiation speaks to the
> discovery process involved in *finding a way* to come closer together,
> whereas cooperation refers more broadly to the goal of working together and
> need not include dialogue. This brings up another tricky concept that I
> didn't notice Annalisa mentioning: "agreement."
> 
> I also wanted to just quickly point out, though this may already be obvious
> to everyone, that conflict hardly always implies competition, nor does
> competition necessarily imply conflict ("good sportsmanship" could be an
> example of the latter).
> 
> Chris
> 
> On Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 4:33 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:
> 
>> Hello esteemed XMCArs!
>> 
>> This is something of a summary of what I have read in the thread so far up
>> to the time of my post anyway. So it's long and addresses several members'
>> posts. I hope it's not to laborious to read, and there might be further
>> collaboration in parsing the answer to Michael's originating question. :)
>> 
>> Initially, as I followed the course of this thread, my thought about
>> notions of collaboration and its differences from cooperation, I consider
>> cooperation to mean that there is sacrifice involved if conflict arises,
>> specifically I mean in the sense of accommodation. It isn't distressing,
>> nor need it be a surrendering of identity, even in a more hierarchical
>> social structure. Also, cooperation can be very ambitious, so I seem to
>> have a 180 definition to Andy's distinctions between the two words. In
>> collaboration, there is a community effort to complete something and it is
>> more democratic in nature, in the sense of oughts, not is's. So to
>> summarize, I don't believe that for either cooperation or collaboration
>> that conflict is an essential ingredient, for the reason that they can
>> exist without conflict.
>> 
>> That's why I'm in more agreement with Michael's definitions when he speaks
>> of Downes' distinctions in reference to community :
>> 
>> "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 also support Micheal to pose the question, "what do we mean my
>> conflict?" As I indicated already, collaboration can be non-adversarial.
>> 
>> It is interesting that Andy brought up marriage. Unfortunately not
>> everyone on this list might know what marriage means in the everyday
>> concept of the word, but might understand marriage as a scientific concept!
>> :) Still, it does seem germane that commitment is a requirement to any
>> collaboration, perhaps because of the potential for conflict, as Micheal
>> points out.
>> 
>> But I'd also like to state something that we are missing when considering
>> marriage as an example of collaboration: there also must be present in a
>> marriage something called love and care, which is joyful sharing. I imagine
>> also, in the creation of a family there is an ideal objective to a create a
>> sense of continuity and community of care for all members, and that is an
>> ongoing collaboration.
>> 
>> I'm not sure it makes sense to focus a notion of collaboration around
>> conflict. But I understand why conflict comes up. I don't think marriage is
>> something that is usually considered in reference to conflict, though for
>> many who are divorced or who fear repeating a bad marriage, they seem to
>> orient to marriage as a daily ordeal in conflict. :/
>> 
>> Helen's comment about distributed cognition I find also relevant, because
>> successful collaboration requires members who have complimentary ways of
>> thinking about or skill for doing things. Sometimes having too many people
>> who have expertise or skill in identical domains creates competition, and
>> competition not only creates conflict, but also has the potential become
>> violent. I say that because competition creates an illusion of scarcity
>> rather than abundance, sharing, or beneficial opportunity.
>> 
>> I also like Greg's comment that hints at a nice definition of
>> collaboration as "playing well with others." Also his mention that there
>> are gendered tendencies about what collaboration means in groups made up
>> solely of one gender or mixed; all male, or all female, or mixed, or even
>> LBGT- to offer recognition of those identities, as more diffuse
>> manifestations of gendered expression, which of course are still being
>> understood by all of us.
>> 
>> There's also the cultural implications, whether having to do with class or
>> race, the preferred language of discourse, vocabularies, signifiers,
>> histories, and so on.
>> 
>> Can there be differences between capital-C Collaboration and little-c
>> collaboration? How does creativity relate?
>> 
>> I don't think it makes sense to create an equivalent to Myers-Briggs for
>> collaboration, but there was that study in Google that studied internal
>> work groups and they couldn't find anything to identify until they were
>> able to measure the amount of time that a team member was allowed to talk.
>> (search "Google" and "groups" the NYT and you should find it). They found
>> that in groups where there was equal-billed time for each member to speak,
>> in other words no individual or individuals dominated leaving others
>> silent, those groups possessed the most productivity, and also each member
>> felt good about being in that group. When they looked more closely to get
>> to the bottom of all that, it ended up that the only feature that really
>> counted was whether or not the group offered psychological safety for each
>> member.
>> 
>> I have one word for this: Duh.
>> 
>> A modicum of psychological safety really hits the nail on the head when it
>> comes to what collaboration requires. Can there be valid collaboration
>> without any psychological safety?
>> 
>> Can members experiment? Can they fail safely without ridicule? Is there
>> humor in the group? Forgiveness for mistakes? How is improvisation regarded
>> as a site for discovery and imagination?
>> 
>> Following our thread, distributed cognition just by being distributed
>> doesn't mean that it is decentralized, something that Michael mentioned.
>> For example, Hutchins study on navigation took place in the Navy, a highly
>> hierarchical organization and highly centralized. The study of cultural
>> practice of navigation (plotting the fix), on the naval ship is still
>> distributed despite these organizational features.
>> 
>> Another example:  when I make a grocery shopping list with a post-it note
>> and pen, that is also distributed cognition exercised in solitude, from the
>> time I search my fridge to learn what I've run out of, in order to make my
>> list, and how I bring the list with me to the store as I search the aisles
>> and then remember that I'd forgotten to add tomato sauce to my list,
>> because I keep that in the pantry not the fridge, and so forgot to put it
>> on my post-it note, which is sticking to the handle of my grocery cart.
>> It's all distributed cognition.
>> 
>> Bouncing off of Christopher's post, who is bouncing off Andy's previous
>> posts on cooperation, as I said initially, I see cooperation as more about
>> accommodation, rather than being conflict free. That's what I meant by
>> sacrifice to a cause, which could be conflict aversion. I agree with Andy
>> that suppressing conflict is not good, but neither is being conflict
>> averse, which feels to me to be more "internal" than "external." Your
>> mileage may vary.
>> 
>> I do think we've identified a possible need for a different word than
>> "conflict" though, for its negative or adversarial connotation. I wonder if
>> professional diplomats use any words for what we are conceptually
>> circumnavigating?
>> 
>> How about "negotiation"? would that be a better word than "conflict"?
>> Negotiation coincides with cooperation and collaboration.
>> 
>> I was super happy to hear from Vera! I like what she says about
>> distributive and integrative aspects in collaboration, which possesses a
>> non-adversarial rendering of collaboration. It implies search, comparison,
>> identification of differences and similarities, these words provide
>> opportunity for simulation, as in rehearsal or testing, then negotiation
>> and finally integration. And the cycle can start once again, as needed.
>> 
>> So maybe we are considering martini preferences around differences between
>> shaken and stirred? :)
>> 
>> I also like the phrase "dignified interdependence" very very much. Thanks
>> for that one, Vera.
>> 
>> In reference to Alfredo's post, that collaboration is a skill to
>> cultivate. That seems right. Such a skill is not something inherently done
>> without guidance from a more-knowledgeable or more-experienced peer, but it
>> does appear to be inherently necessary for all of us to be successfully
>> human.
>> 
>> Also, can we freely make the assumptions we do about individuals and
>> collaboration? I say this because we have these "western" notions of
>> individuality that we take for granted. For example, the notion of dividual
>> makes the case that some cultures have members who see themselves closely
>> tied to others in a "dignified interdependence," if I might exercise Vera's
>> nice coupling of words. So perhaps we might not be too hasty about
>> normalizing individualism as we experience it, and pose it as a universal
>> human trait.
>> 
>> It is interesting to consider collaboration as a primary human phenomenon,
>> since that is inclusive of the individual and the dividual (as a spectrum).
>> I suppose that is the burgeoning anthropologist in me! :)
>> 
>> I still must read the Tomasello article Mike offered up (thanks Mike), he
>> is a favorite of mine. But Rod also brings up a very nice word "collusion,"
>> when taken in a constructive fashion. Sometimes two parties in a group
>> can't be too obvious that they are working together because they must wait
>> for others to catch up or warm up to an idea or new turn in the flow of
>> events. Or, if a subgroup needs to quietly work off to the side to
>> experiment and solidify an idea before presenting it to the group. That
>> seems to be a valid use of the word "collusion."
>> 
>> Of course, Larry's observations that collaboration is highly influenced by
>> the environment is also worth further discussion too, as I don't believe
>> that collaboration can happen in a non-space or a non-environment or even a
>> non-culture. There has to be a there there. So the reference of "dwelling
>> in the world" is also very delightful.
>> 
>> Here's a list I made of words that jumped out to me, going down my post.
>> There are a lot of "C" words:
>> ----------------
>> -care
>> -collaboration
>> -collusion
>> -commitment
>> -community
>> -competition
>> -conflict
>> -continuity
>> -cooperation
>> -creativity
>> 
>> but also some non-C words:
>> ----------------
>> -accommodation
>> -ambitious
>> -artifacts
>> -attention
>> -democratic
>> -dignified interdependence
>> -distributed cogniton
>> -distributive
>> -environment
>> -integrative
>> -love
>> -marriage
>> -meaning
>> -negotiation
>> -play
>> -safety
>> -sharing
>> 
>> Of course this is all about that "great C in the sky": C-O-N-C-E-P-T! We
>> appear to be collaborating quite earnestly upon the concept of
>> collaboration.
>> 
>> I'd like to thank everyone for such a nice (and quite cordial) thread and
>> tapestry!
>> 
>> Kind regards,
>> 
>> Annalisa
>>