Roberto Lusardi, Stefano Tomelleri

The metaphors of the collaboration, or the social construction of collaborative interactions

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Interprofessional Collaboration; Practice of Care; Metaphor; Qualitative Research; Organizational Innovation.

This article illustrates the connections between collaborative interactions and both social and organizational transformations that are affecting practices of care and healthcare organizations. On the basis of empirical data collected through 13 focus groups in an Italian hospital, it is meant to show how collaboration can be linked to three main metaphors, each of them matching specific forms of social and professional interactions. The three metaphors of collaboration constitute different attempts to interpret social and organizational changes in proactive terms, encouraging social innovation, or in defensive terms, as action of cultural resistance. The three metaphors are: the apparatus, the family and the team. In different ways, the first two represent forms of resistance to change and they are widely present within the organization. The last, instead, consists of a proactive way to face ongoing social and organizational change. This metaphor circulates in limited settings within the organization but it testifies the existence of a different prospective to look at collaborative interactions, a prospective related to specific combinations of organizational and professional characteristics. The three metaphors indicates that organizational change and collaboration can be strengthen by facilitating open, plural and heterogeneous professional settings.

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