Gomes, Danilo (2019) Dynamics of Early Project Collaboration. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Early project collaboration involves the resolution of misunderstandings among project participants. Misunderstandings can be considered a natural emergent feature in Early Project Collaboration, which only become problematic if they are not revealed and resolved, leading to wrong assumptions and false expectations among project participants.

At early project interactions, misunderstandings tend to involve individuals’ different interpretations of what collaboration means. Diverse interpretations of collaboration become manifested within different artefacts that project participants design and select to use in the activity. When these diverse understandings are revealed and exposed in time, they can lead to opportunities to explore and expand different ways to perceive the situation, as well as to conceive different design alternatives.

However, little is known about the nature of collaborative interactions related to the resolution of misunderstandings at early project stage. Current interpretations of these collaborative interactions seem to be limited by a positivist and reductionist notion of knowledge, which have traditionally focused on individual models of cognition, separating mind and body.

A case study approach was adopted to address this gap in the literature and propose a new interpretation of early project collaboration. The findings from the case studies suggested that the resolution of misunderstandings requires that participants perceive and embrace the dialectical and situated nature of collaborative interaction towards mutual intelligibility, involving breakdowns and the use of metaphors.

The study also revealed that early project interactions involve the socio-construction of key constructs of collaboration objectivated in terms of perceptions of interdependency and performance, and conceptions of resource and changing actions. Thus, project participants need to work upon misunderstandings emerging from different interpretations of these key constructs of collaboration that become embodied into diverse artefacts, assembles, events and approaches in the activity.

As a result, this thesis proposes an alternative to current models of early project collaboration, based on a group-level framework that provides the means to interpret the dialectical and situated nature of early project collaboration. It is contended that the proposed theoretical framework provides a better interpretation of collaborative interactions because it allows the mapping of individuals’ interactions to socially construct the project activity. It is suggested that this framework can potentially be used by project participants as a mapping tool, aligned with a pragmatic perspective, and supporting collective reflective interaction to socially construct collaboration.

FINAL THESIS - GOMES.pdf - Accepted Version
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