Sometimes One is More Than Two: When Collaboration Inhibits Knowledge Construction

Article

Abstract

In this paper I suggest that to better understand knowledge construction in science, and the role of social processes and collaboration in it, it is useful to distinguish between “elaborative knowledge” and “emergent knowledge.” Elaborative knowledge is constructed for solving clearly defined problems in established theoretical frameworks, and emergent knowledge refers to the knowledge constructed to reach a hierarchically higher and more complex level of scientific understanding. There are also two types of collaboration. On the one hand there is “dialogical collaboration” in which team members contribute to reaching the common clearly defined objective so that a team as a whole becomes qualitatively more complex than its members alone. On the other hand there is “unidirectional collaboration” where the result of collaboration is determined by one person, should be distinguished. There is evidence from multiple perspectives indicating that “elaborative knowledge” can be developed in both kinds of collaboration and sometimes ‘dialogical collaboration” is necessary for knowledge construction. However, for building “emergent knowledge,” it is argued, only individual or “unidirectional collaboration” is productive, and “dialogical collaboration” can hinder or even prevent the construction of this kind of knowledge.

Keywords

Collaboration Dialogical Knowledge Methodology Elaborative knowledge Emergent knowledge 

References

  1. Akkerman, S., Admiraal, W., Simons, R. J., & Niessen, T. (2006). Considering diversity: Multivoicedness in international academic collaboration. Culture and Psychology, 12(4), 461–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, V. L. (1965). Situational factors in conformity. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol 2, pp. 133–175). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  3. Asch, S. (1956). Studies of independence and conformity: A minority of one against unanimous majority. Psychological Monographs, 70 (Whole No. 416), 70.Google Scholar
  4. Bailey, D. B. (1984). A triaxial model of the interdisciplinary team and group process. Exceptional Children, 51(1), 17–25.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Baldwin, J. M. (1906). Thought and things. A study of the development and meaning of thought or genetic logic. London: Swan Sonneschein & Co.Google Scholar
  6. Baron, R. S., Vandello, J. A., & Brunsman, B. (1996). The forgotten variable in conformity research: Impact of task importance on social influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 915–927.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blascovich, J., Mendes, W. B., Hunter, S. B., & Salomon, K. (1999). Social “facilitation” as challenge and threat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 68–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chaiken, S. (1981). Heuristic versus systematic information processing in the use of source versus message cues in persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 752–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chaiken, S., Liberman, A., & Eagly, A. H. (1989). Heuristic and systematic processing within and beyond the persuasion context. In J. S. Uleman & J. A. Bargh (Eds.), Unintended thought (pp. 212–252). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  10. Cottrell, N. B., Wack, D. L., Sekerak, G. J., & Rittle, R. H. (1968). Social facilitation of dominant responses by the presence of the audience and the mere presence of others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9, 245–250.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cummings, J. N., & Kiesler, S. (2005). Collaborative research across disciplinary and organizational boundaries. Social Studies of Science, 35(5), 703–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DePaulo, B. M., & Friedman, H. S. (1998). Nonverbal communication. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (Vol 2, 4th ed., pp. 3–40). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  13. Deutsch, M., & Gerard, H. B. (1955). A study of normative and informational social influence upon individual judgment. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 629–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Diehl, M., & Stroebe, W. (1987). Productivity loss in brainstorming groups: Toward the solution of a riddle. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53(3), 497–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Diehl, M., & Stroebe, W. (1991). Productivity loss in idea-generating groups: Tracking down the blocking effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61(3), 392–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Duque, R. B., Ynalvez, M., Sooryamoorthy, R., Mbatia, P., Dzorgbo, D.-B. S., & Shrum, W. (2005). Scientific productivity, the internet, and problems of research in developing areas. Social Studies of Science, 35(5), 755–785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eagly, A. H., & Chaiken, S. (1998). Attitude structure and function. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (Vol 1, 4th ed., pp. 269–322). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  18. Esser, J. K. (1998). Alive and well after 25 years: A review of groupthink research. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 73, 116–141.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Figg, W. D., Dunn, L., Liewehr, D. J., Steinberg, S. M., Thurman, P. W., Barrett, J. C., et al. (2006). Scientific collaboration results in higher citation rates of published articles. Pharmacotherapy, 26(6), 759–767.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fisher, W., Burd, L., & Kerbeshian, J. (1985). Integrating developmental, pharmacologic, and psychological diagnoses and management through the transdisciplinary team process. Rehabilitation Literature, 46(9), 268–271.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Fitzgerald, M. (2004). Autism and creativity. New York: Brunner-Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Foushee, M. C. (1984). Dyads and triads at 35,000 feet. American Psychologist, 39, 885–893.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gilovich, T., Griffin, D., & Kahneman, D. (2002). Heuristics and biases. The psychology of intuitive judgment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Greene, S. M., Hart, G., & Wagner, E. H. (2005). Measuring and improving performance in multicenter research consortia. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 97, 26–32.Google Scholar
  25. Hackett, E. J. (2005). Essential tensions: Identity, control, and risk in research. Social Studies of Science, 35(5), 787–826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hanawalt, P. C. (2006). Research collaborations: Trial, trust, and truth. Cell, 126, 823–825.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hoeksema-van Orden, C. Y. D., Gaillard, A. W. K., & Buunk, B. P. (1998). Social loafing under fatigue. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 1179–1190.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Janis, I. L. (1972). Victims of groupthink. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  29. Jordan, P. J., Ory, M. G., & Sher, T. G. (2005). Yours, mine, and ours: The importance of scientific collaboration in advancing the field of behavior change research. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 29, 7–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kelly, J. R., & Karau, S. J. (1999). Group decision making: The effects of initial preference and time pressure. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 1342–1354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kikas, E. (2003). Constructing knowledge beyond senses: Worlds too big and too small to see. In A. Toomela (Ed.), Cultural guidance in the development of the human mind (pp. 211–227). Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing.Google Scholar
  32. Laughlin, P. R. (1988). Collective induction: Group performance, social combination processes, and mutual majority and minority influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 254–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Laughlin, P. R., & Ellis, A. L. (1986). Demonstrability and social combination processes on mathematical intellective tasks. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 22, 177–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lee, S., & Bozeman, B. (2005). The impact of research collaboration on scientific productivity. Social Studies of Science, 35(5), 673–702.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Leimu, R., & Koricheva, J. (2005). Does scientific collaboration increase the impact of ecological articles? BioScience, 55(5), 438–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Levine, J. M., & Moreland, R. L. (2004). Collaboration: The social context of theory development. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8(2), 164–172.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lewin, K. (1997). Defining the “field at a given time.” (Originally published in 1943). In K. Lewin (Ed.), Resolving social conflicts and field theory in social science (pp. 200–211). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lord, C., Ross, L., & Lepper, M. (1979). Biased assimilation and attitude polarization: The effects of prior theories on subsequently considered evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 2098–2109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Melin, G. (2000). Pragmatism and self-organization: Research collaboration on the individual level. Research Policy, 29(1), 31–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Miller, R. G. (2004). Making science teams work. Science Scope, 28(1), 50–53.Google Scholar
  41. Mullen, B., Johnson, C., & Salas, E. (1991). Productivity loss in brainstorming groups: A meta-analytic integration. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 12(1), 3–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mumford, M. D., Connelly, M. S., Scott, G., Espejo, J., Sohl, M. L., Hunter, S. T., et al. (2005). Career experiences and scientific performance: A study of social, physical, life, and health sciences. Creativity Research Journal, 17(2), 105–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nettle, D. (2006). Schizotypy and mental health amongst poets, visual artists, and mathematicians. Journal of Research in Personality, 40(6), 876–890.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Petty, R. E., & Caccioppo, J. T. (1979). Issue involvement can increase or decrease persuasion by enhancing message-relevant cognitive responses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1915–1926.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Petty, R. E., & Caccioppo, J. T. (1984). The effects of involvement on responses to argument quantity and quality: Central and peripheral routes to persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 69–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Prichard, J. S., Stratford, R. J., & Bizo, L. A. (2006). Team-skills training enhances collaborative learning. Learning and Instruction, 16, 256–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Reich, S. M., & Reich, J. A. (2006). Cultural competence in interdisciplinary collaborations: A method for respecting diversity in research partnerships. American Journal of Community Psychology, 38, 51–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rigby, J. (2005). Handcrafted by 16 men: The impact of single and multiple authorship in collaborative research networks. Research Evaluation, 14(3), 199–206.Google Scholar
  49. Sears, C. J. (1981). The transdisciplinary approach: A process for compliance with Public Law 94-142. Journal of the Association for the Severely Handicapped, 6, 22–29.Google Scholar
  50. Shepperd, J. A., & Taylor, K. M. (1999). Social loafing and expectancy-value theory. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 1147–1158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Stasser, G., & Titus, W. (1985). Pooling of unshared information in group decision making: Biased information sampling during discussions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 1467–1478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Stroebe, W., & Diehl, M. (1991). You can’t beat good experiments with correlational evidence: Mullen, Johnson, and Salas’s meta-analytic misinterpretations. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 12(1), 25–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Stroebe, W., Diehl, M., & Abakoumkin, G. (1992). The illusion of group effectivity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 18(5), 643–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Toomela, A. (1996a). How culture transforms mind: A process of internalization. Culture and Psychology, 2(3), 285–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Toomela, A. (1996b). What characterizes language that can be internalized: A reply to Tomasello. Culture and Psychology, 2(3), 319–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Toomela, A. (2003a). Culture as a semiosphere: On the role of culture in the culture–individual relationship. In I. E. Josephs (Ed.), Dialogicality in development (pp. 129–163). Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  57. Toomela, A. (2003b). Development of symbol meaning and the emergence of the semiotically mediated mind. In A. Toomela (Ed.), Cultural guidance in the development of the human mind (pp. 163–209). Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing.Google Scholar
  58. Toomela, A. (2007). Unifying psychology: Absolutely necessary, not only useful. In A. V. B. Bastos & N. M. D. Rocha (Eds.), Psicologia: Novas direcoes no dialogo com outros campos de saber (pp. 449–464). Sao Paulo: Casa do Psicologo.Google Scholar
  59. Toomela, A., & Mitt, K. (1989). Veelkord rehabilitatsioonist. Eesti Arst, 6, 442–445.Google Scholar
  60. Toomela, A., & Mitt, K. (1990). Meeskonnatöö ajukahjustusega laste (re)habiliteerimise organisatsioonis: Üks arenguvôimalusi. Eesti Arst, 4, 275–281.Google Scholar
  61. Williams, K. D., Harkins, S., & Latane, B. (1981). Identifiability as a deterrent to social loafing: Two cheering experiments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40, 303–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Zajonc, R. B. (1965). Social facilitation. Science, 149, 269–274.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science & Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia

Personalised recommendations