Collaboration has become a trend, but one associated with research and experiences that point to difficulties in making it a lived experience. In the thesis collaboration is studied as social and interpersonal phenomena, with focus on social aspects, such as communication and managing conflicts.
The study has been conducted through participatory action research within health care, where stakeholders from regional and local government have been seeking to develop cooperation to thereby provide better care.
– Conflicts between decision-makers and practitioners were handled defensively, also there was inadequate dialogue, says Furenbäck.
Collaboration efforts were found to be interwoven in a complex relationship with different levels of communication and interests that affected both interactions between persons in different positions and their affiliations with an organization.
– It was discovered that a weak link between management and those working on collaboration in practice limited practitioners’ freedom of action, which in turn created obstacles to the development of cooperation between organizations, says Ingela Furenbäck.
She believes that dialogue and transparent management of conflicts between decision-makers and health professionals is central to the development of cooperation between organizations. The research design used, participatory action research, was used to deal with the tensions emerging. Organized dialogue sessions between managers and employees and between the region and municipality were part of the design.
– This meant that participation was strengthened, conflicts were visualized and processed and that a common dialogue about goals and means developed, which promoted the development of cooperation in the health care system, says Ingela Furenbäck.

Title: Development of collaboration – A participatory action research project within Swedish health care
Author: Ingela Furenbäck
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