, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 377-395
Date: 11 Nov 2012

Collaborative Capability Design: Redundancy of Potentialities

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In this study we extend the socio-ecological concept of two contrasting design principles applicable to all work systems. Reframing those design principles as strategic as well as operational choices leads us to propose a third design principle, Design Principle 3 (DP3), which has remained undeveloped in social ecology. We call this design principle Redundancy of Potentialities and demonstrate its application in transorganizational work systems. We argue that DP3 is at the core of socio-ecological practice and is therefore appropriate for coping with the highly turbulent environments now experienced in many industries and fields. We offer several illustrations of DP3 in practice and draw implications for enhancing capabilities for creative collaboration in inter-organizational fields through deliberate attention to design.

A much earlier version of this study was delivered at a symposium on New directions in socio-ecological thinking: Legacies of Emery and Trist, Academy of Management national meetings, Philadelphia, August 2007. The authors thank Don de Guerre, Merrelyn Emery, Del Nagy, Bill Starbuck and participants in a USF Tampa Management Department faculty seminar for comments on earlier versions.
An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11213-013-9289-5.