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Building Collective Communication Competence in Interdisciplinary Research Teams

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Using a grounded theory approach, this investigation addresses how an interdisciplinary research (IDR) team negotiates meaning and struggles to establish and sustain a sense of collective communication competence (CCC). Certain communication processes were foundational to building CCC, such as spending time together, practicing trust, discussing language differences, and engaging in team tasks. Demonstrating presence, engaging in reflexive and backstage communication, and shared laughter facilitated and often expedited CCC development, whereas sarcastic humor, unproductive debates of expertise, expressions of boredom, and jockeying for power challenged and deteriorated the team's CCC.

Keywords: Collective Communication Competence; Ethnography; Grounded Theory; Interdisciplinary Communication; Interdisciplinary Research Team

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2009

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