|Why should we collaborate? Exploring partners’ interactions in the psychosocial spaces of an inter- organisational collaboration
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|چرا ما باید همکاری کنیم؟ بررسی تعاملات همکاران در فضاهای روانی اجتماعی یک همکاری سازمانی
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|گروه رهبری عمومی و شرکت های اجتماعی، انگلستان
|اقدام مشترک، اقدام مستقل، فضاهای روانی اجتماعی، تعاملات هویت، همکاری های بین سازمانی (IOCs)، روایات
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Although the term collaboration by definition relates to different partners/actors working together for the achievement of common goals (Gray, 1989; Huxham & Vangen, 2005), research has shown that, even when partners face issues that obstruct them in working collaboratively, they can still help the collaboration succeed (Bouwen & Taillieu, 2004; Gray, 1995). In fact, sometimes partners need to work alone in order to manage to work together and achieve the collaboration aims (Bruns, 2013).
This paper builds on this tradition in order to further explore the interplay between collaborative and independent action in inter-organisational collaborations (IOCs). However, as an innovative approach, the study suggests using psychosocial spaces for the exploration of this interplay. IOC’s psychosocial spaces relate the need for collaborative action in order to maintain order based on established routines, structures and roles with independent actions that emerge as IOC partners try to organise social relations, interactions and experiences based on the given situations they live through (Dale & Burrell, 2008). The engagement with psychosocial spaces points to the need to explore partners’ identities since partners look for identities that will fit the space they experience (Ybema, Vroemise, & van Marrewijk, 2012), and allow them to either separate or align their efforts in order to respond successfully to the changing needs of the collaboration. This research, therefore, offers an original perspective to explore the interplay between collaborative and independent action through identity interactions that take place in IOCs,’ psychosocial spaces.
The paper uses a qualitative longitudinal study conducted over a period of 16 months with an IOC in Greece. The IOC under investigation consists of four partner-organisations. This research explores the IOC’s partners as individual actors that come from different partner-organisations and join their individual efforts in order to achieve the collaborative aims. The focus is on the different collaborative and non-collaborative (organisational. professional, personal) identities that partners bring forward in order to separate or align their efforts in IOC’s changing psychosocial spaces (collaborative identity- an individual actor perceives collaboration as the salient category; organisational identity- an organisation becomes the salient category that the individual identifies with; personal identity- a personal category, e.g. parent, victim, becomes salient; or professional categorywhere the partner perceives his profession as the salient category). Through the exploration of IOC’s psychosocial spaces, the research illustrates the paradoxical and dynamic nature of IOCs E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (I. Kourti). that requests partners to constantly (re)identify themselves, in order to be able to bring forward both collaborative and independent actions to respond successfully to the changing spaces they experience. By employing the concept of psychosocial space, the research offers four contributions to the study of IOCs. Firstly, it offers an alternative perception of IOC as an interactive space in a constant state of becoming, characterised and shaped by the collaborative and independent activity that it embeds. Secondly, the paper suggests that identity interactions allow partners to both adapt to the changing needs of the collaboration and maintain some stability. Therefore, it is not necessary to be resolved. Thirdly, it introduces the concept of space for the exploration of different IOC phenomena. Finally, the study proposes that collaborative and independent actions unfold in IOCs through identity interactions.