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The role of conflict and mediation in collaboration

As newer, web-enabled forms of collaboration have been gathering steam at all levels of government, it's common to hear the discussion be all about the positive and little about the negative.

But clearly, an ability to accommodate criticism, disagreement, and passionate debate are important aspects of a productive collaboration.

The media coverage of the stolen correspondence and other materials from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia has been a reminder of the importance of accommodating such debate.

Marilyn Davidson provides a thoughtful piece on this subject recently on "Enhancing enterprise collaboration: the role of conflict and mediation" with the proposal that large enterprises - whether they be federal agencies or fortune 500 companies - consider the role of a "Chief Mediation Officer" in their enterprise.

In a similar vein, but more focused on the notion of collaborative skills that must be present in an enterprise, Tammy Erickson talks about 10 factors that research shows are highly correlated with successful collaboration in "Do you have the Collaborative Capacity you need?"

Review those 10 factors and you can see why they are critical to a highly collaborative enterprise, that allows debate to shape the strongest outcomes.

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