M O D U L E   0.03   Q U E S T I O N S    ::


Questions on COLLABORATION ::

Sheetal Donahue / INDIA+US [graduate student]

Hello ALL! To get us started, I offer these questions for you to consider and to respond to after reading the BRIEF 02 from Professor Skaggs about Collaboration.

1) Give a 'personalized' definition of what COLLABORATION means?

2) How does COLLABORATION play an important role in globalization or world relationships?

3) What do you think are some of the main barriers to COLLABORATION?

4) Who really benefits from COLLABORATIONS and why or why not?

R E S P O N S E S   B E L O W

1) Give a 'personalized' definition of what COLLABORATION means?

F A R A H > Collaboration is joining efforts for the purpose of benefiting a large number of people regardless the color, race and religion.

M I S U N > Get together with different people of differing histories and share their thoughts, time and space together.

E L L E N > My experiences of collaboration mirror those described by Greg Skaggs in his summary. Many brains are better than one, but they take a lot longer to solidify and to unify to get things done. One of my most recent experiences in creative successes and in high-blood-pressure inducing stress and frustration was my work at Washington State University (WSU) on their English as a Second Language (ESL) Task Force. As a large institution that has about 1,200 international students, WSU attracts the majority of their international students from Pacific Rim nations. Most of these students wind up in the sciences, engineering, business or math, many of them graduating and going on to become the proverbial “imported” apple pie of America’s work force.

In the mean time, many international students at WSU experienced frustration with what they view as unfair or difficult treatment by faculty or staff who sometimes seemed provincial or apathetic in dealing with issues of ESL in testing, assignments, fairness of grading, and support infrastructure on campus at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Our job on the ESL Task Force was to get better recognition of the challenges that students and faculty alike face related to these issues, and begin to create a support system for international students, plus better educate faculty on how to manage the ESL students’ needs in classes and graduate work. We were a group of 5 women, and by the end of my experience there, we had taken a little understood and totally ignored problem and put it at the top of the docket of the dean of the graduate school, the head of international programs, and obtained a grant for faculty development. Over a period of nearly 2 years, we haggled, argued, brainstormed, complained, researched, and generally came together as a group. It was a wonderful experience, it was a stressful experience, but I have friends for life from that group of smart women -- we jokingly named our group the “Girl Geniuses” because we got so much done. When I left WSU to take my current job here at Troy, it was they who sent me off with a fabulous farewell luncheon, and I miss them a lot!

D A N N Y > To me a collaboration is an exhange of ideas, thoughts, and personal talent. In a collaboration each person brings to the table their own strengths and weaknesses to work with others to solve a specific problem. Each person will have seperate ideas, and although there will be clashes, at the end of the thought process hopefully a great project will emerge that combines a piece of each person's essence.

E R I K A > To me collaboration means teamwork. That is a group of people working toward a common goal. Hopefully everyone pulls there own weight and comes out stronger, smarter and more practiced in dealing with many different types of people and problems.

J E F F > Collaboration to me is the idea of bringing two or more opposite viewpoints together to create something greater than a single person.

J O S H > I would define collaboration as a group of people coming together to exchange knowledge, experiences, personal influences, talent, and emotion. In collaboration, though it may be difficult at times, there should be a creation that emerges from the pool of life experiences and abilities of all the involved parties.

2) How does COLLABORATION play an important role in globalization or world relationships?

F A R A H > Collaboration plays a vital role in world relations during the present time. Since technology has taken its huge steps forward, the whole world finds itself connected with one another more than any other previous time, and since governments seeks the prosperity and well being of their nations it has become necessary to collaborate with other governments in order to fulfill these goals.

M I S U N > Through the mass-media we are all living in a kind of global world now. The world problems of crimes against women, child violence, drugs, lack of water, globe warming and so on. These are not just one particular region's problem anymore. If we want to give some solutions and act about that problem by 'oneself,' it's not easy. The power of 'oneself' is not strong enough. However, with variety of fields, people from different backgrounds, we can be more strong and work more professionally. And mostly addressing these problems, we have to and can, build up good relationships with a variety of people from a variety of nations.

E L L E N > As much as we human beings disagree, we truly live in an interdependent world. Every time you go to a store like WalMart to pick something up, look at the label and see where it comes from. A lot of stuff comes from China. So even if I don’t speak Chinese, I am dependent on a Chinese factory to create the shampoo that keeps my hair clean, or the fishing rod that provides hours of serene fishing to my husband, or the plastic dog toy that keeps my dog happy. My wellbeing often depends on people across the globe I’ve never met!

D A N N Y > Without collaboration there would be no existence of globalization or world relationships. It's a common fact that no two people think alike. In fact without some form of collaboration, societies could not exist. People must work together or there will always be a continuing disagreement and conflicting situations.

E R I K A > I feel that this life is full of collaborative efforts. In class we are assigned group work where we all pull together to make one stellar report or maybe it is in our job where we work in teams to reach a final goal of landing an account. All of life is connecting and communicating with other people, all walks of life and coming to the final conclusion that we are a wonderful mix beautiful in our own different ways and together we make a masterpiece.

J E F F > Working with someone else helps build bonds and gives an experience that can only be gained from collaboration. It helps us learn about one another and teaches us to think outside the box and have a open mind to new things-- which most of our ties to foreign lands is built upon.

J O S H > Collaboration plays a major role in expanding the views of all the involved parties. The act of bringing people together from different places, religions, and political backgrounds, though it can be difficult, opens up such a wide array of opportunities that I would deem it necessary for our world today. As our world grows more connected, the necessity of collaboration grows as well. We should take the opportunity to share our experiences with each other, whether they are ones of failure or success.

3) What do you think are some of the main barriers to COLLABORATION?

F A R A H > -Ego can be one of the most important barriers to collaboration. A team player should always look beyond his pride for the purpose of achieving the bigger picture. -Also language and culture can slow the progress of collaboration. Although the most beautiful works are the result of joint efforts of different backgrounds, nevertheless, language can present a barrier to the progress of the work, for it involves meaning and understanding of ideas.

M I S U N > Different backgrounds and thoughts. Their favorites. Sometimes a strong head can be a barrier. Also, to fail to communicate with each other.

E L L E N > From the standpoint of communication theories of group interactions, Tuckman’s theory best describes the key phases of how groups come together to collaborate:

FORMING = the early stage of a collaborative group, when everyone looks to a leader for direction

STORMING = team members jostle and jockey for position, disagree, and seek to establish their roles

NORMING = the team forms its own group culture and habits, working fairly well as a cohesive unit—even having fun!

PERFORMING = the team is now getting tasks done, sharing vision and ideas.

For more info. on how this process occurs, see, for example: http://www.businessballs.com/tuckmanformingstormingnorming

Barriers can arise at any of these stages in collaboration, related to power sharing, delegation of duties, miscommunications, or the age-old problem of some team members pulling more weight than others and then resenting it!

D A N N Y > Some barriers to collaboration include: Language, Political Views, Social Views, Artistic styles, and Philosophical Background.

E R I K A > I think that some of the main barriers are people with closed minds, conflicting schedules, and attitudes toward new things.

J E F F > Communication is one of the biggest barriers. Without it a collaboration is something that could not happen. There are also the different lifestyles and views of the members of the collaboration.

J O S H > Some barriers to collaboration are the ability to communicate, pride, inflexibility, schedules, and different styles, whether they are artistic, political, or religious.

4) Who really benefits from COLLABORATIONS and why or why not?

F A R A H > Everyone benefits from collaboration. On a smaller scale we find team players benefits by learning and teaching one another, and on the bigger scale the outcome of this collaboration will benefit other people.

M I S U N > Most of all, the client who needed solutions to their problem. Moreover if the project was big, it also gives huge benefits to every one who was involved in the project. And through the solution every living creature can profit somehow. And the most important thing about collaboration is that it gives proud and fruitful feelings to every member (if it turns out well).

E L L E N > Collaborations can be a mixed bag. Sometimes the big fish scoop the crème off the top away from the little fish, to mix my metaphors. But when big decisions are at stake, teams who collaborate and share the labor relatively evenly can enjoy big payoffs through tasks accomplished, and bonding experienced by team members who work cohesively together to achieve a goal. It can be immensely rewarding, in an ideal scenario. In a less ideal scenario, it can be endlessly frustrating, too!

D A N N Y > In the end, it is hoped that everyone involved will gain something from a collaboration. Some people may open their eyes and gain new insight into life, others may gain new talents they did not think they had, and others may become more open to other people's views.

E R I K A > Everyone should benefit from group efforts, learning more about the people you work with. You pick up on everyone's gifts and talents. You begin to learn what it is that makes people and cultures tick and that everything and everyone usually has similar desires just a different way of accomplishing it.

J E F F > Everyone should benefit from a Collaboration. Each person should be able to take something from it that has either enhanced or just slightly changed their views or even their life.

J O S H > In a perfect world all the involved parties, be they the collaborating team, client, or public, would benefit from the collaboration. But every situation is different; some will take away much more than others. I think the key is to do your best and that in the end you will take away what you put into it.