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Learning in Collaboration: Academics’ experiences in collaborative partnerships

Karlsson, Jan LU (2008)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Det finns en pågående debatt, både i USA och i Europa om behovet att utveckla en bredare syn på akademisk kompetens och de olika aktiviteterna som den innefattar, bland annat det som kallas “tjänster riktade mot samhället”. I Sverige tar dessa samhällsorienterade tjänster formen av praktik orienterad involvering och samarbete med det omgivande samhället, i enlighet med den lagstiftning som reglerar högskolans verksamhet. Samarbete uppfattas ofta som en uppgift som ligger utöver utbildning och forskning; den kallas därför också “den tredje uppgiften”. Många akademiker, universitetslärare och forskare, är idag engagerade i olika former av samverkan. Avhandlingen fokuserar akademikers lärande i två... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Det finns en pågående debatt, både i USA och i Europa om behovet att utveckla en bredare syn på akademisk kompetens och de olika aktiviteterna som den innefattar, bland annat det som kallas “tjänster riktade mot samhället”. I Sverige tar dessa samhällsorienterade tjänster formen av praktik orienterad involvering och samarbete med det omgivande samhället, i enlighet med den lagstiftning som reglerar högskolans verksamhet. Samarbete uppfattas ofta som en uppgift som ligger utöver utbildning och forskning; den kallas därför också “den tredje uppgiften”. Många akademiker, universitetslärare och forskare, är idag engagerade i olika former av samverkan. Avhandlingen fokuserar akademikers lärande i två olika sammanhang: samverkan med små och medelstora företag (SMF), och samverkan inom ramen för ett flervetenskapligt forskningsprogram vid Arbetslivsinstitutet (ALI).



Resultaten från den första undersökningen visar att akademikerna lär sig olika strategier för att initiera, genomföra, fördjupa och vidareutveckla samverkan mellan högskolan och SMF. Resultaten visar också att akademikerna som är verksamma inom detta område behöver hantera den akademiska organisationens rigida strukturer, som varken uppmuntrar eller belönar dessa individers ansträngningar att samverka. Akademiker och praktiker i SMF kommer från olika arbetskulturer, med olika traditioner förknippade med språk och interaktion. Undersökningen visar dock att kontinuiteten i utbytet och dialogen skapar ett förtroende och kompetensutveckling för alla involverade parter, samt ett lärande i form av ny kunskap som är användbar både för akademin och för SMF.



Tvärvetenskapligt samarbete håller på att bli en grundläggande del av all forskning, beroende på önskan att utforska problem och frågeställningar som inte är begränsade till ett enstaka ämnesområde, och behovet att lösa de problem samhället ställs inför. Den andra empiriska undersökningen fokuserar forskares lärande på arbetsplatsen inom ett flervetenskapligt forskningsprogram vid (ALI), samt deras samarbete med praktiker. Resultaten visar att det som akademiker lär i detta flervetenskapliga sammanhang är en fördjupad medvetenhet om perspektiven i deras egen och andras forskningsfält, samt en förstärkt nyfikenhet att lära mer. Lärandet innebär även att komma till nya insikter om deras eget lärande, och hur detta äger rum; hur det påverkar deras egen professionella utveckling, och att upptäcka - ibland överraskande – hur deras kompetens kan användas i nya forskningsområden. Samspelet mellan kunskap och erfarenhet hos forskare med olika ämnesbakgrund och med praktiker skapar ett sammanhang som kräver en annan typ av lärande for akademikerna, jämfört med deras inomdisciplinära arbete.



Resultaten från båda undersökningarna ger en förståelse av hur akademiker upplever sitt lärande i samarbete med praktiker och andra forskare från olika ämnen. Det visar hur den holistiska kunskapsintegrationen som härrör från de tre akademiska funktionerna samverkan, undervisning och forskning, samtidigt bidrar till utveckling i arbetsmiljöer både inom och utanför akademin. (Less)
Abstract
There is an ongoing debate both in the United States and Europe about the need to develop a broader view of scholarship and the different activities connected with it, including “service to the community”. In Sweden, service takes the form of practice-oriented engagement and collaboration with the surrounding community, as stipulated by Swedish law regulating universities’ activities. Collaboration is frequently perceived as a supplementary task, in addition to education and research, hence the name ‘the third task’. Many academics, university teachers and researchers, are today involved in different collaborative partnerships. This thesis focuses academics’ learning in two different contexts: collaboration with small and medium... (More)
There is an ongoing debate both in the United States and Europe about the need to develop a broader view of scholarship and the different activities connected with it, including “service to the community”. In Sweden, service takes the form of practice-oriented engagement and collaboration with the surrounding community, as stipulated by Swedish law regulating universities’ activities. Collaboration is frequently perceived as a supplementary task, in addition to education and research, hence the name ‘the third task’. Many academics, university teachers and researchers, are today involved in different collaborative partnerships. This thesis focuses academics’ learning in two different contexts: collaboration with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and in a multidisciplinary research programme at the National Institute for Working Life in Sweden (NIWL).



The results of the first investigation reveal that the academics learn different strategies to instigate, accomplish, deepen and further develop collaboration between universities and SMEs. The results also show also that academic professionals engaged in this type of activity need to handle the rigid structures of the academic organisation, which neither encourage nor reward these individuals’ efforts to collaborate. However, this study shows that although academics and practioners from SMEs come from different working cultures with their various traditions associated with language and interaction, a continuous exchange and dialogue creates trust and competence for all parties, as well as learning in the form of new knowledge that is useful for both the academia and SMEs.



Collaboration across disciplines is rapidly becoming an integral feature of research, due to the desire to explore problems and questions that are not confined to a single discipline and the need to solve societal problems. The second empirical investigation focuses on the workplace learning of researchers in a multidisciplinary research (MDR) programme at the National Institute for Working Life in Sweden (NIWL), and their collaboration with practitioners. The results show that academics in this multidisciplinary context reach a deepened awareness of the perspectives of their own and others’ fields of research, as well as a heightened curiosity to learn more. The learning also involves gaining new insights about their own learning and how this takes place; its impact on their own professional development, and discovering, sometimes surprisingly, how their competence can be used in new areas of research. The interaction of knowledge and experience with researchers of different disciplines and practitioners creates a context that demands a different type of learning for the academics, compared to working in their own disciplines.



Both investigations give an understanding of how academics experience their learning in collaboration with practitioners and researchers from different disciplines. It shows how the holistic integration of knowledge deriving from the academic functions of collaboration, teaching and research contributes to development within the academia and in working environments outside it. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Tydén, Thomas, Dalarnas forskningsråd
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
SMARTA, multidisciplinary, krAft, Sweden, NIWL, holistic learning of scholarship, scholarship, interactive research, service, collaboration, Learning, SMEs, academia
pages
157 pages
defense location
Humanisthusets hörsal, Språk och litteraturcentrum, Helgonabacken 14, Lund.
defense date
2008-03-14 13:30
ISBN
978-91-628-7419-3
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
dc9257b6-d199-4858-b2f8-5230d7effb32 (old id 1032268)
date added to LUP
2008-02-19 11:05:31
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:18
@misc{dc9257b6-d199-4858-b2f8-5230d7effb32,
  abstract     = {There is an ongoing debate both in the United States and Europe about the need to develop a broader view of scholarship and the different activities connected with it, including “service to the community”. In Sweden, service takes the form of practice-oriented engagement and collaboration with the surrounding community, as stipulated by Swedish law regulating universities’ activities. Collaboration is frequently perceived as a supplementary task, in addition to education and research, hence the name ‘the third task’. Many academics, university teachers and researchers, are today involved in different collaborative partnerships. This thesis focuses academics’ learning in two different contexts: collaboration with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and in a multidisciplinary research programme at the National Institute for Working Life in Sweden (NIWL). <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The results of the first investigation reveal that the academics learn different strategies to instigate, accomplish, deepen and further develop collaboration between universities and SMEs. The results also show also that academic professionals engaged in this type of activity need to handle the rigid structures of the academic organisation, which neither encourage nor reward these individuals’ efforts to collaborate. However, this study shows that although academics and practioners from SMEs come from different working cultures with their various traditions associated with language and interaction, a continuous exchange and dialogue creates trust and competence for all parties, as well as learning in the form of new knowledge that is useful for both the academia and SMEs. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
Collaboration across disciplines is rapidly becoming an integral feature of research, due to the desire to explore problems and questions that are not confined to a single discipline and the need to solve societal problems. The second empirical investigation focuses on the workplace learning of researchers in a multidisciplinary research (MDR) programme at the National Institute for Working Life in Sweden (NIWL), and their collaboration with practitioners. The results show that academics in this multidisciplinary context reach a deepened awareness of the perspectives of their own and others’ fields of research, as well as a heightened curiosity to learn more. The learning also involves gaining new insights about their own learning and how this takes place; its impact on their own professional development, and discovering, sometimes surprisingly, how their competence can be used in new areas of research. The interaction of knowledge and experience with researchers of different disciplines and practitioners creates a context that demands a different type of learning for the academics, compared to working in their own disciplines. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
Both investigations give an understanding of how academics experience their learning in collaboration with practitioners and researchers from different disciplines. It shows how the holistic integration of knowledge deriving from the academic functions of collaboration, teaching and research contributes to development within the academia and in working environments outside it.},
  author       = {Karlsson, Jan},
  isbn         = {978-91-628-7419-3},
  keyword      = {SMARTA,multidisciplinary,krAft,Sweden,NIWL,holistic learning of scholarship,scholarship,interactive research,service,collaboration,Learning,SMEs,academia},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {157},
  title        = {Learning in Collaboration: Academics’ experiences in collaborative partnerships},
  year         = {2008},
}