Sunday, June 06, 2010

Simple model for Collaborative Group Work by Ken Otter

This simple model was derived from a 13 month research project by Mat Schwarzman, Linda Sartor and Ken Otter while doctoral students at the California Institute of Integral Studies in 1995. Using Collaborative Inquiry methodology facilitated by Elizabeth Kasl, Mat, Linda and Ken, studied the experience of several groups engaged in collaborative work. This is the outline of their findings. 


A) The infrastructure of the group ought to be developed and determined by the group.
B) Authority, power, and leadership ought to be shared by members of the group.
C) Shared meaning-making should be fostered.
D) Individual and group development ought to be viewed as mutually enhancing.
E) A group purpose ought to be agreed-upon collectively.
F) Facilitation should be practiced in service to the group's collective purpose.


A) Emphasize inquiry over advocacy.
B) View all perspectives as potentially valid.
C) Provide reassurances about the challenges inherent in collaboration.
D) Attend to development of group skills needed for collaboration.
E) Foreground group goals and purposes throughout.
F) Create opportunities for members to cultivate interpersonal connections.
G) Encourage reflection as a regular feature of group life.


A) All members actively participate.
B) Roles are not rigidly fixed or permanent.
C) Agreements are articulated and operationalized.
D) Meaning is constructed by the group as a whole.
E) Varied perspectives are registered and encouraged.
F) When conflict occurs, members attend to it with an eye towards the potential benefit it may hold for the group.
G) Unexpected meanings, decisions and other results get made.
H) Members articulate differing perspectives held by one another in a similar fashion.

Cross-posted with permission of the author.  Originally posted posted by Ken Otter on Leadership Learning Community discussion: leadership for a new era Aug 5 2009, 3:06 PM EDT

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