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Development of Intergroup Cooperation with Action Research
(Maarit Lahtonen, Information Society Research Center University of Tampere, Finland)

Abstract

Intergroup co-operation of different professions or groups with cultures of their own is a more complicated and demanding method than co-operation in a simpler team. Still, it has become usual in the private as well as in the public sector, because it includes many opportunities. For instance, it can improve the quality and efficiency of services, it can broaden the work contents and competence of the personnel, and it can create innovations. Action research is one method to develop and study intergroup co-operation. It offers discussion forums, where different groups can create a common language, visions and goals as well as build understanding and trust on each other.
The starting point of my paper is my experiences in two action research projects, one in the municipal sector and another in the IT sector. The projects are based on similar methodologies of action research, the so called communicative development model and its next version, the concept-based development model. Co-operation has been one central theme in the projects. In my experience, the special challenges of intergroup co-operation deal with social identities, cultures, trust, responsibility and power as well as with management. In my paper, I present two cases from the municipal sector and two cases from the IT sector and how the intergroup cooperation showed out there.

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