Collaboration Final Reflection

  1. Explore concepts of collaboration in human interaction.

Artifact: Week 4 Dialogue and Collaboration

“The “other” is simply those who aren’t like me. I think the population that consists of the “other” depends on the situation. Growing up, I was the “other” in my community because it was a heavy Hispanic neighborhood. My brother was the “other” because he did traditional sports whereas I was a classically trained ballerina. I now work in a large Hispanic and African American population, so I am labeled as the “other” on a daily basis.

I’d like to think that I’m more accepting of differences because of the situations that I grew up in. I was used to being singled out for things. Especially now working with minority populations, I’m less phased by a lot of the differences that are obvious or disconcerting for others.

Knowing and being familiar with some of these differences has helped make the collaboration process easier for me, I think. I am able to connect with parents, the kids, or school personnel with what I hope is a little bit more cultural competence. For me, the most important thing is always to build trust among the different people involved. Trust looks different to different “other” groups, but it’s still a universal symbol of acceptance. Whenever I meet a new child or parent, I immediately work towards building a personal relationship with them so that we are able to have some mutual trust and respect down the road.”

“I lived in Alicante, Spain for several months a few years back so that’s the first culture I’ll discuss. It’s interesting looking back on the cultural differences as I worked so hard to make them my own and not appear to be an outsider.

  • Greetings: as with many European cultures, the cheek kisses were very common in Alicante. If you were overtly an American, some people would only kiss one of your cheeks, but most would go for the double kiss. Sometimes it felt like back to your awkward first kiss when you didn’t know which way you should put your head lest you bump heads with the other person. For the cheek kisses, you just had to be confident going in with which side you’d kiss first.
  • Coffee to go: a big no no! This one killed me and my American sister. We had a a 30-45 minute bus ride to the university everyday, and we wanted nothing more than a big cup of coffee on the way. If you ask for a coffee “para llevar” (to take away), you get the nasty American glare. Coffee is meant to be enjoyed in the cafe.
  • PDA: public displays of affection. Get used to it. From getting your butt squeezed in a bar to watching dozens of couples making out on the street, the phrase “get a room” has no place in Spanish culture.
  • Slow paced lifestyle: this is what I miss most about Alicante. Life is lived in the streets and at a very slow pace. 5 minutes to go before you’re meeting someone? Not a problem…let’s grab a coffee for 15 minutes. There was also an area near the beach called the Explanada where the city provided folding chairs. People would sit for hours, not doing anything but people watching. Outdoor cafes are not just thing of movies either!
  • Nightlife: In America, we might start having a few drinks around 7 or 8 and head to the bars around 9 or 10. Toddlers are still awake at this time! Midnight is when people would start going to the bars. Typical evenings out would easily last until 6 am. That being said, ordering a beer or a “cafe con Bailey’s” at 2 in the afternoon while eating lunch is 100% acceptable.

Overall, most of these differences didn’t come as too big of a shock to me, but they were still somewhat difficult getting used to. Looking back a few years removed from it, I realize how wonderful that lifestyle is. People truly enjoy each other’s company. Most importantly, they work to live and not live to work as we do in America. With that being said, I find the idea of expanding a business operation to Spain, especially Alicante, somewhat difficult to wrap my head around.


The second culture I looked into was the Australian culture. One of my cousins married an Aussie, so it’s somewhat close to home. Going into this, I had a hard time picking out cultural norms based on just Suzie, but after reading some, a lot of them really did fit her!

  • Australians prefer people who are modest, humble, self- deprecating and with a sense of humor. They do not draw attention to their academic or other achievements and tend to distrust people who do. They often downplay their own success, which may make them appear not to be achievement-oriented.
  • Australians place a high value on relationships. With a relatively small population, it is important to get along with everyone, since you never know when your paths may cross again. This leads to a win-win negotiating style, since having everyone come away with positive feelings helps facilitate future business dealings.
  • Australians are not very formal so greetings are casual and relaxed. A handshake and smile suffices.
  • Australians are very direct in the way they communicate. There is often an element of humour, often self-deprecating, in their speech. Aussies often use colourful language that would be unthinkable in other countries.
  • Negotiations proceed quickly. Bargaining is not customary. They will expect your initial proposal to have only a small margin for negotiation. They do not like high-pressure techniques.

Depending on the person or company, expanding business operations to Australia could be a challenge. In general, I think many Americans are quick to self promote or promote their company as best as they can. We’re not used to being humble as we want to outshine the person next to us. I also thought that the bit about negotiations could make things interesting. We’re all about profit in America, so I wonder how much inflation goes into proposals knowing that Aussies don’t negotiate much.”

Rationale: I picked these two discussion boards because of the global state of mind that they put me in. Rather than just thinking about immediate coworkers, and myself it made me broaden that circle. So often when I am thinking about collaboration, I almost have my blinders on, but when forced to think about big picture, it helped me to reevaluate the existing relationships and collaboration practices that I already have in place. Too often, we just assume that everyone around us is like us, and comparatively, they are. But when you’re forced to think about differences with people from different cultures, it helped me to respect the differences closer to home as well.

  1. Articulate contemporary understandings of power and privilege differentials in organizations and society.

Artifact: Week 3 Dialogue

“For the most part I think we grow up thinking of power in two ways: 1. People having power over you, negative, controlling, etc. and 2. Having power over other people, positive, potential change agent. When we see ourselves in positions of power, it’s rarely with a negative mindset, but when someone has power over you, we question their morals and judgements.

I really enjoyed reading the different views on power this week which challenged our basic assumptions regarding power.  The first reading which described the four different types of power helped to outline two new ideas of how to use power for me – power as and power with. Of course i’ve thought about strength in numbers before, but you don’t always consider that as a type of power. This article outlined collaboration and community as a way to achieve power through the WE.  This is an incredibly powerful message to me, and got me thinking about how to incorporate it within the community based organizations I operate through.

In terms of shifting norms, I think that “power with” and “we” become even more essential. If we want to change things, it is essential for people to band together as a unified voice to accomplish their goals. As a culture, we are extremely complacent hiding behind the masses rather than stepping out, and I think that shows through things like standardized testing like the last video talks about. We want people to fit together into one mold even though we preach individuality and America as the melting pot of different people. Whenever people ask about this program, I describe it as a lot of community leadership and social advocacy. If we want to push boundaries and change norms, it starts with collaborating with different community agencies to define these new norms.

Atlee, T. (2011). Four types of power. Retrieved from:  (Links to an external site.)

WATCH: RSA Animate. Changing Education Paradigms. Retrieved from:

Rationale: This week really set a good foundation for the rest of the course in terms of thinking about how power affects relationships and collaborations. I especially like the Atlee article and his description of the different types of power. So often power is thought of in a negative connotation, but he helped to illustrate how power can be positive and used successfully in collaborations. We talked a lot about power and how it related to our group assignment as well. In that situation, I do think power was abused and used in a negative way, but (I hope) our discussion helped to alleviate some of that and use power in a positive collaboration.

  1. Identify and engage stakeholders to achieve definable goals.

Artifact: Final Assignment
Rationale: This assignment was great for me to really nail down all of the different ideas and conversations I have had regarding my capstone and bring it all together into a cohesive piece. By defining each of our roles it helped me to see how the project would really come together. I already had existing relationships with each person, so engaged them was not a focus. As I just transitioned to my new job this week, having an existing plan in place will help get my new school and partners on board easier and faster. This paper helped with replicated the ideas!

  1. Create conditions for stakeholders to synthesize diverse perspectives in group settings.

Artifact: Assignment 2

Rationale: This was a great assignment! In working in a group setting, we were able to discuss some very diverse groups and a struggling collaboration project that happened. By diving into it, I think we were able to get a good grasp on different ways to make it better and also a model for future collaborations. This project also forced us to experience collaboration in a group setting. The first few days were definitely a challenge as we worked to nail down a topic and plan for the paper, but as grew to develop stronger relationships and trust, it became an enjoyable process. It was interesting writing a paper about collaboration practices while we were living them first hand!

  1. Effectively manage interpersonal, organizational, and technology-mediated conflicts.

Artifact: Week 2 Dialogue, Week 5 Collaboration, and Week 8 Collaboration

“When thinking of online campaigns or things of that nature in technology mediated collaboration, there has to be strong marketing component. If the ad, post, etc. is not eye catching, informative, and simple, it won’t be very effective. I think when using platforms such as discussion boards or emails, it’s important to be very explicit since so many non verbal cues aren’t able to be transmitted. Tone is hard to read through the written word as well, so follow up in a face to face or verbal setting can help clarify things as well.

Pros to technology mediated collaboration:

1. This program! Without technology mediated collaboration, none of this learning would be able to happen

2. Connecting people when physical locations make it impossible

3. Potentially faster lines of communication


1. Loss in verbal cues/tone of voice

2. Lack of human connection

Nonverbal cues play a big role in both methods. In face to face contact, reading body language and facial expressions can help to asses how others are feeling. This can become difficult in technology, especially in a professional setting. Through phrases like “lol” and emojis, we can communicate some of the same feelings through technology, but those things are not necessarily appropriate when writing an email to your boss. At the same time, agreeing upon things through technology can hold people more accountable as compared to verbally agreed upon things.

I think it depends on the situation which method I prefer. I admit there are many days when I want nothing to do with anyone, so technology allows me to sit back in the shadows so to speak. In other areas, technology drives me nuts because I am definitely a “people person”. I thrive off of energy that other people put out and am one of the worst people at misunderstanding the tone in written word. Both have an essential place in our lives, and we have to learn how to use them to our advantage without relying too much on one.”

Rationale: I definitely could not pick one artifact for this learning objective as we touched so deeply on each different aspect of interpersonal, organizational, and technology mediated conflicts. Each discussion post addressed a different one and allowed for some good self-reflection. My assumptions regarding conflict were really challenged a lot throughout this course. As I talked about before with power having a negative connotation, conflict also does. I have always disliked conflict and avoid it like the plague, but I need to constantly remind myself that conflict can be good! As I am transitioning into my new job, I can see a lot of really positive conflict occurring as I work to combine my pervious knowledge with a new way of doing things. The trick is going to be utilizing the techniques and practices that I have learned throughout this course to continue keeping conflict alive and positive as I get more settled in the job!

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