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Creating a Win-Win Situation

Posted on January 19, 2010

Jacqueline Resnick (bio) explains her approach to the development of interdisciplinary teams.

 

Every nonprofit has its own goal. Every group within a community has its own goal. What your role is, not to force them to work together, but your role is to see where the interface is, that by working together they don't have to change what they do.

What you want people to do, and certainly in academia, is to maintain the integrity of their life's work, their scholarship, but to understand that to maintain that integrity as the world changes, they can work with other people who are coming at it from a different perspective and gain. So it's the interface and the win-win mentality I think that is essential.

So, in looking at dealing with egos and strong personalities in an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary because, as you know, there's a very different approach for either type of research agenda, is a really important question. One of the things that I do is before I ever get a group together I actually go and meet with the folks individually, who might have that problem in a group, and try to identify what they see as important. So it goes back to what I said initially. Then when they come into the group they've already had an interaction with me. We've established some type of rapport, and I can try to build on that in the group. And sometimes when people argue about these things I let them go at it, and then I come in and say, "Well, let me just interrupt for a second. Let me tell you what I hear and where you both can win on this one."

So I think one of the big problems with group organizing is that people try to worry about what's right and what's wrong, and what's really important is saying what's really the issue and putting it on the table, so then you can deal with it.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher in September, 2009.

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