Towards different communication in collaborative design

Towards different communication in collaborative design Purpose – This paper aims to create a social constructivist perspective on collaborative architecture that is complementary to the rational‐analytic perspective as embodied in the “hard” project management tools. Design/Methodology/approach – Two theoretical perspectives from the field of design methodology, “design as co‐evolution”, and “design as a social process”, form the base for an integrated perspective of collaboration. This integrated perspective describes in detail the social process among multi functional actors involved in co‐creational processes. A third theoretical framework discusses the process of maturing conflicts and conflict prevention using the integrated perspective on collaboration. Data from two empirical studies are used to illustrate both perspectives. The first study used a protocol study approach and the second a grounded approach. Findings – This paper shows the similarities in design methodology and conflict literature by introducing a social constructivist perspective on collaborative architecture. Especially, the notion of cognitive errors as root cause of “conflictuous” situations becomes apparent. The paper describes in detail the role of perceptual differences that can make and break collaborative architecture. Practical implications – Based on these findings some hypothetical intervention strategies are proposed that collaborating actors can apply in order to prevent “conflictuous” situations to grow beyond control and even bend those situations towards innovations. Actors engaged in multi functional and multi actor creational processes might benefit from building a rudimentary mental model representing the world of the other function or other organization. Originality/value – The paper brings together the intra‐subjective and inter‐subjective level in the context of co‐creating (architectural) processes by combining two very different streams of literature, design methodology and maturing conflicts. In both streams one could identify a similar distinction between cognitive processes and social processes. Collaborative architecture without having social‐emotional conflicts is realized by explicating implicitly held knowledge, understandings and perceptions. An individual cognitive effort as well as a social‐interactive effort is needed in which actors explicitly discuss differences in perception before these perceptions evolve into misleading truths. As a basis for such synchronizing discussions the actors need to have some sort of rudimentary understanding of each other's thought world and trust in each other's professionalism and factuality. Thus, preventing conflicts is not about having more communication, but about different communication! http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Managing Projects in Business Emerald Publishing

Towards different communication in collaborative design

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1753-8378
D.O.I.
10.1108/17538370810883819
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to create a social constructivist perspective on collaborative architecture that is complementary to the rational‐analytic perspective as embodied in the “hard” project management tools. Design/Methodology/approach – Two theoretical perspectives from the field of design methodology, “design as co‐evolution”, and “design as a social process”, form the base for an integrated perspective of collaboration. This integrated perspective describes in detail the social process among multi functional actors involved in co‐creational processes. A third theoretical framework discusses the process of maturing conflicts and conflict prevention using the integrated perspective on collaboration. Data from two empirical studies are used to illustrate both perspectives. The first study used a protocol study approach and the second a grounded approach. Findings – This paper shows the similarities in design methodology and conflict literature by introducing a social constructivist perspective on collaborative architecture. Especially, the notion of cognitive errors as root cause of “conflictuous” situations becomes apparent. The paper describes in detail the role of perceptual differences that can make and break collaborative architecture. Practical implications – Based on these findings some hypothetical intervention strategies are proposed that collaborating actors can apply in order to prevent “conflictuous” situations to grow beyond control and even bend those situations towards innovations. Actors engaged in multi functional and multi actor creational processes might benefit from building a rudimentary mental model representing the world of the other function or other organization. Originality/value – The paper brings together the intra‐subjective and inter‐subjective level in the context of co‐creating (architectural) processes by combining two very different streams of literature, design methodology and maturing conflicts. In both streams one could identify a similar distinction between cognitive processes and social processes. Collaborative architecture without having social‐emotional conflicts is realized by explicating implicitly held knowledge, understandings and perceptions. An individual cognitive effort as well as a social‐interactive effort is needed in which actors explicitly discuss differences in perception before these perceptions evolve into misleading truths. As a basis for such synchronizing discussions the actors need to have some sort of rudimentary understanding of each other's thought world and trust in each other's professionalism and factuality. Thus, preventing conflicts is not about having more communication, but about different communication!

Journal

International Journal of Managing Projects in BusinessEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 20, 2008

Keywords: Project management; Knowledge management; Process planning; Conflict management

References

  • Between thought and object in engineering design
    Bucciarelli, L.L.
  • Creativity in the design process: co‐evolution of problem‐solution
    Dorst, K.; Cross, N.
  • Ethnographic description of design networks
    Lloyd, P.; Deasley, P.
  • Concept analysis of perspective‐taking: meeting informal caregiver needs for communication competence and accurate perception
    Lobchuk, M.M.
  • The Sciences of the Artificial
    Simon, H.A.

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