Creating Collaborative Advantage


Edited by: Chris Huxham

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    Catherine Barr gained her first degree from the Department of Management Science at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland. She has recently completed a doctorate in the same department, researching community participation in public decision-making. Her research has focused on participation both in the context of collaboration for community development and of decentralization of local government.

    Steve Cropper is a senior lecturer in Health Planning and Management at Keele University, UK. He has a degree and PhD in Town Planning. From 1983 to 1991, he pursued research into problem structuring and group decision support methods largely within public service organizations. Since joining the Centre for Health Planning and Management at Keele University in 1991 his research has focused on the development and evaluation of collaborative working between agencies concerned to promote health, and on the involvement of doctors in management.

    Colin Eden is Professor and Head of the Department of Management Science at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland. Following an early career as a construction engineer, he moved to the University of Bath where he developed the use of cognitive mapping as the basis of a group decision support system for organizational problem-solving. Since moving to Strathclyde, Colin's work has focused on strategy development and implementation and he has worked extensively with teams of senior managers in public, private and community sector organizations. His research in group decision support is widely known and accessed across the world. He is co-author of Thinking in Organizations (Macmillan, 1979) and Messing About in Problems (Pergamon, 1983) and is co-editor of Tackling Strategic Problems (Sage, 1990).

    Charles B. Finn is a Fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, USA. He is also Director of the Banking and Community Economic Development Project and Administrative Director of the Technology and Group Systems Support Center. His areas of expertise include strategic management of large-scale organizational change, activities of the financial sector that relate to access by low-income and minority populations and analysis of large data sets. He has conducted banking studies throughout the United States and has facilitated strategic management efforts for federal, state and local governments as well as school boards, community and non-profit organizations. He is currently conducting research with communities undertaking collaborative efforts.

    Barbara Gray is a Professor of Organizational Behavior and Director of the Center for Research in Conflict and Negotiation at the Pennsylvania State University in the USA. Dr Gray has been studying organizational and international conflict and negotiation processes for 20 years. Her interest in negotiations is reflected in her books, Collaborating: Finding Common Ground for Multi-Party Problems (Jossey Bass, 1989) and International Joint Ventures: Economic and Organizational Perspectives (Kluwer, 1995), as well as in numerous academic publications on collaboration, dispute resolution and joint ventures. She has worked in industry, education and in academia as a consultant to numerous public and private sector organizations in the areas of conflict management, negotiations and organizational change.

    Arthur Turovh Himmelman is a consultant whose practice is focused on the design, facilitation and evaluation of community-based collaboration, a subject about which he wrote, taught and consulted while a senior fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, USA. His monograph, Communities Working Collaboratively for a Change, has received extensive acclaim and distribution, including publication in the International City/County Management Association's Resolving Conflict: Strategies for Local Government. He has consulted and made presentations nationally for numerous academic, philanthropic and professional organizations including many local governmental and community-based non-profit organizations. Prior to the Humphrey Institute, Himmelman was a senior programme officer at major private and community foundations and also directed community-based, higher educational programmes serving inner-city adults for colleges and universities. Among his volunteer activities, he was board vice-president of a battered women's shelter and a public housing community centre in Minneapolis.

    Chris Huxham is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management Science and Chair of MBA Programmes in the Graduate Business School at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland. Working from a background of research at the Universities of Sussex and Aston in the analysis of conflict and in group decision support, Chris has been researching inter-organizational collaboration for the past six years. In this time she has worked in a variety of collaboration contexts in the public and community sectors. Particular focuses have been with groups concerned with collaboration for economic and social development and for anti-poverty initiatives.

    Arnold de Jong graduated from the agricultural university in Wageningen in the Netherlands. He worked for 18 years in a large consulting company. He was alderman of the municipality of Arnhem for four years. In 1982 he launched his own consultancy company specializing in guiding the government in the process of policy-making. He is a freelance teacher in the Dutch schools of public administration.

    Sandor P. Schuman has been helping groups work more effectively to solve complex problems and make decisions for more than 20 years. He specializes in participatory problem-solving and decision-making. He is a facilitator who pays careful attention to social as well as analytical processes and makes thoughtful use of information technology. Sandy is president of Executive Decision Services, a private consulting firm, and executive director of the Decision Techtronics Group at the Rockefeller Institute of Government, State University of New York. He has facilitated meetings and decision conferences for a wide variety of public and private organizations. He has developed training courses in facilitation, group decision-making, analytical techniques and information resource management. He helped organize the New York State Forum on Conflict and Consensus, a forum to explore and encourage participatory and collaborative approaches to solving public policy conflicts in New York State and currently serves as Vice-Chair.

    David Sink is Professor of Public Administration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA. Previously he has taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of California, Riverside. Professor Sink attempts to integrate his teaching, research and service in a series of efforts focused on community level collaboration, urban politics and management and youth violence. His most recent study deals with the degree of formalization of community-based collaboration and the potential for bringing together opposing elements of the community in a shared-vision collaboration.

    Acknowledgements and Dedication

    Editing a book like this in a world where time is precious is hard on the editor. It must be much harder on the family, friends and colleagues who surround her. I found that the only way of completing the task was to shout loudly about it. Letting all and sundry know I was doing it ensured that I had to be seen to finish it. It was an effective way of getting the job done … but it must have been very boring to listen to! Max took the brunt of the load but quite a lot also got dumped on other friends and most valued colleagues. To all of you, many thanks.

    My thanks also to the authors of the chapters in the book who first responded to the call to come to Ross Priory and latterly coped so admirably with my many finicky editorial demands.

    This book is dedicated to the memory of my mum who died just too soon to know of its existence.



    Arriving at Ross Priory – the University of Strathclyde's ‘place in the country’ – one Sunday evening around 10.30 pm in June 1993, I found Arthur Himmelman standing with his back to me on the putting green, entranced by the view up Loch Lomond.

    ‘just wasn't prepared for how beautiful it would be,’ he remarked. ‘Well I did tell you, but…’

    Situated on the south bank of the Loch, Ross Priory is indeed a stunning location. Mountains flank the loch sides and the loch itself is dotted with small islands. Around midsummer in Scotland at 10.30 pm it is still broad daylight. That night the sun was out and the view was breathtaking.

    Such was the setting in which the ten authors in this book gathered together, along with Allen Hickling and Siv Vangen, for three days and talked about collaboration. This book represents the agenda of things that we talked about.

    In the course of editing the book, I was struck time and time again at the enormous variety within it: variety in definition of collaboration; variety in setting for collaboration; variety in process of collaboration; variety in ideology for collaboration; and so on. I should not be surprised by this; after all I invited this particular set of people to Ross Priory precisely because they came from a diverse range of backgrounds and would bring with them a consequent variety of ‘world-taken-for-granteds’ about, and perspectives on, collaboration. But the variety that emerged was probably greater than any of us could have imagined. Three days of trying to get inside each others' heads left us confused (I, at any rate, was much more confused than when we started) … but excited.


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