Collaborative Culture

Explicit knowledge structures as a tool for overcoming obstacles to interdisciplinary research. 2005. Boulton, A.J., D. Panizzon, and J. Prior. Conservation Biology 19: Article 6. This paper provides detailed information with examples for using knowledge structures to foster interdisciplinary communication.

How to Make Collaboration Work: Powerful Ways to Build Consensus, Solve Problems, and Make Decisions. 2002. Straus, D. Berret-Koehler Publishers: San Francisco, CA. This concise, inspired, and easy-to-read book is well organized and clearly explains the principles and practices that support collaboration, as well as its benefits. The book is divided into three parts: (1) Fundamentals of human problem solving, (2) Principles of collaboration, and (3) Putting it all together.

Interdisciplinary research: Maintaining the constructive impulse in a culture of criticism. 1999. Pickett, S.T.A., W. R. Burch Jr., and J.M. Grove. Ecosystems 2: 302–307. A short essay highlighting some of the challenges faced in planning synthetic interdisciplinary projects. The authors give some useful advice.

Making Collaboration Work. 2000. Wondolleck, J.M., and S.L. Yaffee. Island Press: Washington, DC. This book on collaboration in natural resource management focuses on how to extend decision-making to broad groups of stakeholders. It may be especially useful in thinking about how to engage different demographics in a research program to help ensure long-term support and impact.

Practicing interdisciplinarity. 2005. Lele, S., and R.B. Norgaard. BioScience 55: 967–975. Excellent review article that identifies barriers to collaboration across the biophysical–social science divide and provides some possible solutions to overcoming these challenges. Clear and insightful treatment of the subject.

Team Building

The Art and Science of Leadership. 1997. Clark, D. A comprehensive leadership guide that covers all the basics including theory and practice. Highly recommended!

The Complete Facilitator’s Handbook. 1999. Heron, J. Kogan Page: London. This heavily referenced, well-indexed 400-page volume will interest those who aim to become proficient in the theory and practice of facilitation and would be a useful reference for anyone wanting to enhance their skills.

Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making, Third Edition. 2014. Kaner, S., L. Lind, C. Toldi, S. Fisk, and D. Berger. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA. This is the most useful book on facilitation that we have come across. We highly recommend that you secure a copy, read it through, and keep it close by for easy reference.

Groups That Work (and Those That Don’t): Creating Conditions for Effective Teamwork. 1990. Hackman, J.R. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco: CA. This is a rich and authoritative work, though not a quick and easy read. Think of it more as a text or reference book, for those who want to understand team building in some depth. We highly recommend the introductory chapter, “Work teams in organizations: An orienting framework,” for gaining a fundamental understanding of what a work team is and what it can do.

Teamwork: What Must Go Right, What Can Go Wrong. 1989. Larson, C.E., and F.M.J. LaFasto. Sage Publications: London. This research-based yet highly accessible work elaborates eight characteristics that explain how and why effective teams develop. It provides a useful reference for those designing, managing, and participating in teams.

When Teams Work Best. 2001. LaFasto, F.M.J., and C.E. Larson. Sage Publications: London. This practical guide to success in collaborative teamwork is an exceptionally user-friendly resource that provides a one-page “snapshot” of points to remember about each topic addressed. It is alive with case studies and simple graphics that add context to the concepts.