Collaborative wellness through dynamic role alignment
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The pressures to solve the complex social problems of our modern interconnected society have placed an emphasis on the use of knowledge creation collaborations to devise process and design innovations for tackling complex social problems. Despite extensive discussion in the literature, a theory for collaboration in meta-organisations that would inform improving product and process innovation has yet to emerge. To address this situation I treated a knowledge creation collaboration as a human centric, complex, adaptable social system that organisations use to solve problems in product or process innovation. Progress is monitored by assessing the gap between the current state and the state if the purpose of the collaboration was fulfilled. I call this gap “Collaborative wellness (CW)”. Collaborative processes are characterised by communications in social networks created by the interactions of knowledge creators. A knowledge creator will only participate in such a collaboration if they have the confidence to meet their assigned responsibilities. In deciding to participate, a knowledge creator interprets their responsibilities to create and perform a role-in-use which they dynamically adapt and align to the collaboration’s purpose as circumstances change. In collaboration, knowledge creators negotiate compatibility between their roles-in-use and thereby form a shared sense of purpose to fulfil the collaboration’s responsibilities. The concept of role-in-use alignment is central to my research. I devised the “Collaborative Wellness System (CWS)” as a theory informed system of collaborative relationships in a framework with measures to support the evaluation and application of improvement strategies to existing collaborations. CWS may also inform the design of new collaborations. CWS is deployed as a customised architecture to suit a particular collaboration using perspectives developed from my practical experience. Improvement has the goal of enhancing both sustainability (doing more with less) and the value derived from using the created knowledge in process and product innovation. The measures of CWS form a tree structure that provides a detailed assessment across selected perspectives of a collaboration at a particular point in time. CWS relates measures to structures, processes and relationships. Four case studies validated CWS and provided a basis for a collaborative wellness scale to compare collaborations and their processes. The research has application in business process restructuring, logistics and disaster relief.
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