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Between planned and emergent collaboration: boundary activation and identity development in the psychosocial space of a Greek educational partnership

Kourti, Isidora (2013) Between planned and emergent collaboration: boundary activation and identity development in the psychosocial space of a Greek educational partnership. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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This thesis aims to expand our understanding of inter-organisational collaborations by exploring how the process of collaboration emerges over time and how collaboration partners (re)form their identities in the developing collaboration space. For the exploration of these aims, a practice-based study of inter-organisational collaborations is followed. The study analyses the KEDDY Aitoloakarnanias collaboration in Greece. In order to examine how the KEDDY collaboration unfolds, a longitudinal ethnographic research was conducted, collecting 43 in-depth interviews, 48 documents, observations of 13 partners’ meetings and numerous field notes. The data was analysed qualitatively using thematic and narrative analysis. The results show how, as they engaged in everyday working practices, organisational members demarcated the boundaries of the collaboration by producing two types of psychosocial spaces. The ‘spaces of regulation’ provided a stable meaning framework where the partners found continuity, while the ‘learning spaces’ offered them opportunities for renewal and change. These working spaces helped partners engage with the collaborative process in a flexible way. However, they required the activation of different types of boundaries and the establishment of different types of identities through identification loops. In this way partners were able to make sense of the constant changes in the collaboration space and organise their actions accordingly. Therefore, although some of the KEDDY collaboration features were designed a priori and provided continuity through regulatory spaces, this research illustrates how the day to day collaboration unfolds as partners also explore new practices. This indicates that it is not possible to predict the outcome of the collaboration process. Notwithstanding the limitations due to the small-scale nature of this study, the results have useful implications for the understanding of the development and transformations of inter-organisational collaborations over time. This research contributes to the body of research in the area in that it strengthens the view of inter-organisational collaboration as a process and questions in which way it is currently understood in the context of contemporary inter-organisational collaboration studies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Isidora Kourti
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Sets: Departments > Social Psychology

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