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Creating a Culture of Collaboration: The International Association of Facilitators Handbook

Sandy Schuman (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-7879-8116-7
536 pages
August 2006, Jossey-Bass
Creating a Culture of Collaboration: The International Association of Facilitators Handbook (0787981168) cover image


Collaboration is often viewed as a one-time or project-oriented activity. An increasing challenge is to help organizations incorporate collaborative values and practices in their everyday ways of working. In Creating a Culture of Collaboration, an international group of practitioners and researchers–from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, and the United States–provide proven approaches to creating a culture of collaboration within and among groups, organizations, communities, and societies.
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Table of Contents

Preface (Sandy Schuman)
Meaning is all we want. Choices are all we make. Relationships are all we have.

1 Five Transformational Leaders Discuss What They’ve Learned (Sam Kaner)
With warmth, candor, and humility, five chief executives trade insights and share war stores as they discuss their guiding principles and strategies for putting participatory values into practice.


2 Renewing Social Capital: The Role of Civil Dialogue (James M. Campbell)
This chapter explores the relationship among social capital, social trust, confidence, and civil dialogue. It demonstrates the need for facilitated processes to ensure effective civil dialogue.

3 The Development of Cross-Sector Collaborations in a Social Context of Low Trust (Mladen Koljatic, Mónica Silva, Eduardo Valenzuela)
This chapter addresses the obstacles that need to be overcome in societies characterized by low social confidence in order to establish successful cross-sector collaborative endeavors.

4 Exploring the Dynamics of Collaboration in Interorganizational Settings (Ignacio J. Martinez-Moyano)
Using system dynamics modeling in a group setting provides unique insights into structural factors of the dynamics of collaboration in interorganizational settings.

5 Equity, Diversity, and Interdependence: A New Driver for Societal Transformation (Michael Murray, Brendan Murtagh)
Collaborative conversations that address equity, diversity, and interdependence are profoundly relevant for societies struggling to emerge from conflict, racism, and social separation.

6 What Keeps It Together: Collaborative Tensility in Interorganizational Learning (Hilary Bradbury, Darren Good, Linda Robson)
This chapter explores the ability of organizational partners to exhibit collaborative tensility—to bend and remain flexible under pressure so that their work can maintain momentum despite instability and challenges.

7 Make-or-Break Roles in Collaboration Leadership (Mirja P. Hanson)
Collaborative problem solving succeeds if three key players—participants, facilitators and sponsors—contribute formally and informally to tackling the quest for “win-win” solutions.


8 Sense Making and the Problems of Learning from Experience: Barriers and Requirements for Creating Cultures of Collaboration (Gervase R. Bushe)
The chapter explains how interpersonal mush makes it impossible for well-intentioned people to create cultures of collaboration and how to overcome that.

9 Metaphors at Work: Building Multiagency Collaboration Through a Five-Stage Process (Carol Sherriff, Simon Wilson)
How to harness the power of metaphors for compelling collaboration and effective change.

10 Utilizing Uncertainty (Kim Sander Wright)
This chapter explores how uncertainty and certainty affect stakeholder attachment to viewpoint and engagement in conflict during collaboration.

11 Sustainable Cooperative Processes in Organizations (Dale Hunter)
This chapter explores cooperative processes in organizations and their sustainability and investigates the social and ecological context and development cycles of groups.

12 Is Your Organization an Obstacle Course or a Relay Team? A Meaning-Centered Approach to Creating a Collaborative Culture (Paul T. P. Wong)
This chapter reveals the distinction between toxic and healthy cultures and introduces a meaning-centered approach for creating a collaborative culture.

13 Practical Dialogue: Emergent Approaches for Effective Collaboration (Rosa Zubizarreta)
Three dialogic methods for facilitating practical creativity in working groups illustrate a nonlinear approach for transforming polarization, with applications in both the private and public sectors.

14 Using the Facilitative Leader Approach to Create an Organizational Culture of Collaboration (Roger Schwarz)
This chapter describes how organizational leaders undermine collaborative cultures and how they can create the cultures they say they want.

15 Use of Self in Creating a Culture of Collaboration (Ante Glavas, Claudy Jules, Ellen Van Oosten)
This chapter describes theory and various approaches as to how practitioners can learn to use perhaps the most important aspect of a successful intervention: themselves.


16 Collaboration for Social Change: A Theory and a Case Study (Cynthia Silva Parker, Linda N. Guinee, J. Courtney Bourns, Jennifer Fischer-Mueller, Marianne Hughes, Andria Winther)
This chapter illustrates how the creation of collaborative culture can facilitate social change. A case study describing a systemwide effort to eliminate a racial achievement gap demonstrates these principles.

17 Theory in Action: Building Collaboration in a County Public Agency (Jamie O. Harris, David Straus)
This chapter relates how a five-pronged approach to building collaborative cultures was applied in the public works department of a county agency.

18 Leadership for the Common Good (John M. Bryson, Barbara C. Crosby)
This chapter explains how collaborative leaders bring diverse stakeholders together to tackle complex social problems or challenges.

19 Using Deliberative Democracy to Facilitate a Local Culture of Collaboration: The Penn’s Landing Project (William J. Ball)
Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing project provides an important cautionary tale of the difficulties of creating a culture of collaboration in urban planning.

20 Avoiding Ghettos of Like-Minded People: Random Selection and Organizational Collaboration (Lyn Carson)
Random selection of participants can help create a culture of collaboration in elite, research-intensive universities. This chapter explains how one Australian university has succeeded.

21 Involving Multiple Stakeholders in Large-Scale Collaborative Projects (Tasos Sioukas, Marilyn Sweet)
This chapter reviews best practices and step-by-steps tools for systematically involving multiple stakeholders aimed at significantly enhancing the success of largescale projects at complex organizations.

Appendix: Collaborative Values, Principles, and Beliefs.

Key Concepts.


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Author Information

Sandy Schuman is a group facilitator, collaborative process advocate, and storyteller. He helps groups create shared meaning, make critical choices, and build collaborative relationships. He is the editor of The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation (from Jossey-Bass) and Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal and moderates Grp-Facl, the Electronic Discussion on Group Facilitation. Schuman is an associate of the Center for Policy Research, University at Albany, SUNY. His consulting firm is Executive Decision Services. Contact him at www.exeds.com.
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"Corporate executives, governmental policy makers, union leaders–anyone who finds collaboration essential for dealing with the complexity and high interdependence of the global economy—will benefit from Creating a Culture of Collaboration. So will researchers and consultants developing models of cooperation and facilitating decision-making communications, for this book combines the best and most current thinking on how to sustain collaborative relationships in and between organizations for lasting results."
—Alan T. Belasen, chair, MBA program, and professor of management, Empire State College, SUNY; author, Leading the Learning Organization

"The greatest strength of Creating a Culture of Collaboration lies in the diversity of its authors and their approaches to building organizations and societies that allow the widest participation possible. Rather than closing the doors and allowing only limited voices to be heard, this book champions a vision of a world in which everyone has something significant to contribute."
—David A. Hart, chief executive officer, Association for Conflict Resolution

"A great overview of the joys and challenges of building collaboration within organizations and creating opportunities for collaboration between civic society and governmental decision makers. This book has equal value for people concerned with organizational transformation and public participation."
—James L. Creighton, public participation consultant and founding president, the International Association for Public Participation; author, The Public Participation Handbook

"Corporate America is coming to realize that singularly, we're stupid–but collectively, we're smart! Collaboration remains the key strategy for successfully competing in a global economy."
—Kenny Moore, coauthor, The CEO and the Monk

"With its rich harvest of international examples, its frank discussion of the nitty-gritty of collaboration, and its penetrating theoretical insights into the nature of collaboration, Creating a Culture of Collaboration ought to be read by any leader who is interested in managing collaboratively."
—Steve Denning, author, The Leader's Guide to Storytelling

"In this outstanding state-of-the-art resource, thirty-seven seasoned practitioners from around the world offer their insights on the deeper contextual issues that need to be addressed for collaboration to be embraced by any community. A must-read for advocates, leaders, and practitioners of collaboration in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors."
—Susan Carpenter, practitioner and trainer; coauthor, Managing Public Disputes

"Top-down decision-making is becoming a dinosaur in this era of globalization and rapid change. This outstanding book, written by international contributors, provides the pathways for successful collaborative decision-making and the new wave of leadership, using practical, facilitative, and well-researched methods."
—David A. Wayne, chair, International Association of Facilitators; chief operating officer, Tapestries International Communications, Inc.

"Creating a Culture of Collaboration is an excellent addition to the thinking within the profession of facilitation. It is a great follow-up to The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation in the International Association of Facilitators series. The long term process of creating the space, values and expectations of collaboration is a serious issue in today's organizations. This book contributes much to this work."
—Jon C. Jenkins, Imaginal Training, Groningen, The Netherlands; Coauthor,  Nine Disciplines of Facilitative Leadership

"If you or your people are going to be crossing boundaries to work with others, then Creating a Culture of Collaboration has important lessons that are worth their weight in gold. Filled with insights from practitioners and frameworks that have proven their mettle, this is a handbook for success in the twenty-first century."
—Seth Kahan, executive strategy specialist

"While much has been written about collaboration over the years, this book contains important new insights and strategies. Thank you for bringing these leading practitioners together to share their knowledge with us!"
—Ingrid Bens, author, Facilitating With Ease!

"At last, a reference manual for civics in the post-9/11 world. Facilitating collaboration is the new Roberts Rules of Order from neighborhood block clubs to Congress, and from corporate board rooms to the United Nations."
—Jim Troxel, Millennia Consulting; editor, Participation Works

"Insightful practices covering an amazing breadth of situations."
—Michael Wilkinson, CEO, Leadership Strategies; author, The Secrets of Facilitation

"Your book is a necessary and timely addition to the literature on collaboration. I especially appreciate the book's international aspect."
—David D. Chrislip, author, The Collaborative Leadership Fieldbook

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