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Matt Isbell: Interorganizational Collaboration: Complexity, Ethics, and Communication

Matt Isbell Assistant Professor of Communication recently published a book with co-author Renee Heath titled Interorganizational Collaboration: Complexity, Ethics, and Communication.

The book was published by Waveland Press <> and serves to introduce collaborating across organizations within the realm of wicked problems. With an emphasis on communicating in the context of our differences, it could be used in advanced organizational communication, nonprofit, group, leadership, ethics or civic engagement courses. Grounded in the assumptions that “solutions” to wicked problems lie in just, participative processes that take into account marginalized voices and peppered with vignettes, the aim of the book is to be readable at many levels.

The text coalesces decades of collaboration and relevant communication theory and introduces the language of collaborative praxis and communication oriented toward dialogue, interests, conflict, consensus, and solutions. The final section of the text presents six short bona fide case studies contributed by collaboration practitioners and offers an opportunity to consider organizing collaboration as a unique pedagogy.

Table of Contents: Part I: The Complexity of Collaboration 1 Introducing Complexity: Global Problems Interconnect Us; Organizational Shifts Demand Collaboration; The Workforce is Changing; Changing Organizational Curricula with the Times   2 Interorganizational Collaboration: Cooperation, Coordination, and Collaboration; Building a Collaborative Scaffold; Collaboration as Structure, Process, and Ideal; Measuring Success   3. Stakeholders: The Ethical Turn to "Who"?: Stakeholders in Interorganizational Collaboration; influence; paradoxes; Identity and Stakeholders, Interdependence and Need   Part II: A Collaborative Ethic   4. Ethical Contexts: Collaboration as an ethical response to Social Corporate Responsibility; The Macro and Micro Contexts of Ethics; the public sphere and communication and decision making; Pragmatic reasons to Practice Ethical Communication; Tensions   5. Diversity: The Central Role of in Collaboration; Rethinking as Dependent on the Communication Situation; Requisite Diversity; Benefits of Diversity; Challenges of Diversity (access, representation, prejudice, convict)   6. (Shared) Power: Hierarchy and Power Structures; Power as Relational; Power Types: Power and Democracy; liberal democracy and native communication, hegemony and collaboration; Sharing Power; egalitarian spirit, parity rather than equality; Discursive Barriers   7. Principled Leadership: Leadership and Collaborative Culture; Participative Leadership and Collaboration; transitional, natural, facilitative, and moral leadership; Convener; Facilitator, agendas; Process Observer, ground rules; Recorder; minutes.   Part III: Language of Collaborative Praxis 8. Communication Oriented toward Dialogue: Dialogue from Debate; "I Get It"; dialogic moments, I and Thou; dialogue as destruction and invention; Dialogue as Collaborative Praxis: preparation, reflexivity; listening, storytelling   9. Communication Oriented toward Interest: Positions vs. Interests; basic needs, from individual interests to shared values; Shared Representations as Collaborative Praxis; fostering collective identity; ambiguity in communication; Principled Negotiation in Collaboration   10: Communication Oriented toward Conflict: Conflict in Collaboration; Native Communication Expounded; Gracious Contestation as Collaborative Praxis; VOICE, prolonged conflict   11. Communication Oriented toward Consensus: Consensus and Collaboration, lay and theoretical understandings; Consensus decision rules; dissenters; transparency   12: Communication Oriented toward Solutions: The Problem with Shortcutting to Solutions; Appreciative Inquiry; brainstorming   Part IV: Wicked Problems Revisited: Applied Collaboration   13. Educational and Economic Partnership: Community Reach (Cooper)   14. Institute for Healthcare Improvement's Triple Aim Initiative (Craig & Lewis)   15. Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: Why are So Many Black Children in Foster Care or Locked Up? (Lebold)   16. Environmental Community Development in West Virginia: Country Roads Bring Us Together (Staton)   17. Substance Abuse Task Force: Navigating Collaborative Constraints (Kramer et al.)   18. Collaboration among Bike/Walk Advocates: Facilitating Process or Empowering Action? (Britt & Smithberger).
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