Chapter 4 Working successfully in university interdisciplinary teams: Learning from embedded intergroup relations theory
Interdisciplinary Higher Education: Perspectives and Practicalities
ISBN: 978-0-85724-371-3, eISBN: 978-0-85724-372-0
Publication date: 8 November 2010
Working in interdisciplinary teams is recognised as fundamental to contemporary workplaces in the knowledge economy. Current research across the disciplines clearly shows that working successfully in interdisciplinary teams is associated with increased productivity, improved outcomes, higher levels of creativity and enhanced personal fulfilment. But why is there a perception that it is hard to work in such teams in higher education contexts, and what does it take to work successfully in an interdisciplinary team? In this chapter we use embedded intergroup relations theory as a way of conceptualising the tensions and complexities that exist within interdisciplinary teams in universities. We draw on the constructs of group membership, parallel processes, group boundaries, power differences, affective patterns, cognitive formations and leadership behaviours to deconstruct why working in interdisciplinary teams often challenges academic identities, cultures and contexts. We then consider the core factors that underpin successful interdisciplinary teams, based on a synthesis of the work in the fields of social sciences, organisational behaviour, education, health and psychology. Understanding the complexities of working in interdisciplinary teams within universities provides insights into how to facilitate positive outcomes for all involved in interdisciplinary teamwork.
Botterill, M. and de la Harpe, B. (2010), "Chapter 4 Working successfully in university interdisciplinary teams: Learning from embedded intergroup relations theory", Davies, M., Devlin, M. and Tight, M. (Ed.) Interdisciplinary Higher Education: Perspectives and Practicalities (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 5), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 75-96. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3628(2010)0000005007
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