American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Interdisciplinary Collaborations Module 3: Project Execution

Listen to the audio presentation

Execution of the Project

"Interdisciplinary projects are inherently difficult, and keeping them going is challenging."

Lee Ryan, Ph.D.
Interviewed, November 2003
Neuropsychologist, University of Arizona

Motivations and Obstacles

  • Facilitators
    • Deadlines (Kraut et al., 1988)
    • Guilt or fear of disappointing of partner (Kraut et al., 1988)
    • Dependence on others to further work (Kraut et al., 1988)
    • Fellow collaborators' encouragement (Kraut et al., 1988)
    • Intellectual benefits of the collaboration
    • Social benefits of the collaboration

Motivations and Obstacles

  • Obstacles (Kraut et al., 1988)
    • Procrastination
    • Technology
    • Conflicting commitments

How Work Survives

  • Work set out must be accomplished (Kraut et al., 1988)
  • Maintain good interpersonal relationships (Kraut et al., 1988)
  • Group should permit "directness, active listening, trust, mutual support, and humor" (Andrews, 1990)
  • Have regular contact

Efficient Meetings (McDermott et al., 1998)

  • On schedule
  • All key players present
  • Every member permitted to contribute
  • Stick to agenda
  • Complete discussion of one item before addressing next item
  • Translate abstract thoughts into action items (Derry et al., 1998)
  • Create plan of action to guide activities between meetings
  • Keep minutes, notes, and lists, as a reference (early discussion most vulnerable to omission) (Derry et al., 1998)

Characteristics of an Effective Team (Parker, 1990)

  • Clear purpose
  • Informality
  • Capacity to listen
  • Civilized disagreement
  • Open communication
  • Clear roles and work assignments
  • Shared leadership
  • Self assessment

Signs of Trouble (Parker, 1990)

  • You cannot easily describe the team's mission
  • Meetings are formal, stuffy, or tense
  • There is a great deal of participation but little accomplishment
  • There is talk but not much communication
  • Disagreements are aired in private conversations after the meeting

Signs of Trouble (Parker, 1990)

  • Members are not open with each other because trust is low
  • Confusion or disagreement about roles or work assignments
  • Team has been in existence for over three months and has never assessed its functioning
  • Decisions are made by team leader with little involvement from other members

Modules in the Series:

Share This Page

Print This Page