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Collaborative Insight April 2017 - ISSUE 41

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WBS Publish Latest Research ‘Understanding the Psychology of Collaboration’

The SHARD launch event also provided the opportunity to publish the latest research of Warwick Business School commissioned by ICW ‘the psychology of collaboration’. It focuses on investigating the characteristics of a collaborative personality. Dr Mark Johnson, Dr Mehmet Chakkol and Dr Max Finne through in-depth interviews and analysis identified key traits of individuals which we anticipate will support organisations in their requirements to recruit, assign and develop individuals to work in collaborative arrangements.

The report outlines the top 10 most relevant personality attributes for the further categorisation and identified three areas of personality attributes characterise the most effective individuals in terms of collaborative working:

a) Strategic and adaptive orientation ("strategically minded", "creative/innovative", "leadership")

b) Effective information exchange ("good communicator", "open to sharing", "good listener")

c) Prioritising common values ("team orientation", "empathetic", "believe in collaboration", "behaving ethically")

It is interesting to see how closely these three identified areas link to the relational norms outlined in prior scientific research: (1) information exchange, (2) flexibility, and (3) solidarity. We interpret this relationship meaning that people who possess personal attributes showing adherence to relational norms are the most effective in collaborative working. It can be discussed whether such attributes are the result of nature or nurture, but from the research it is clear that they are linked to effective interpersonal collaboration. Further, these attributes intriguingly lie on a separate dimension from e.g. logical vs. intuitive or creative vs. technical competences. They are also orthogonal to Myers-Briggs personality types. This means that different kinds of people may be equally effective collaborators, the main distinguishing factor is behaving in accordance to relational norms.

Download the report (.pdf, 1.71MB)

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