Creating a collaborative culture - an HR Director's journey

DProf thesis

Waldock, S. 2014. Creating a collaborative culture - an HR Director's journey. DProf thesis Middlesex University Institute for Work Based Learning
TypeDProf thesis
TitleCreating a collaborative culture - an HR Director's journey
AuthorsWaldock, S.

Organisations worldwide are moving towards more fluid and collaborative structures and are having to rethink the way they do things in response to the sheer volume of information provided by modern technology and the resulting pressures on to deliver more value by optimising people and technology resources. On the other hand adopting a ‘collaborative’ style of behaviour and culture does not come easy to organisations and particularly organisation leaders brought up within the silos of traditional organisational structures where competition rather than collaboration is the prime driving motivation.
Bearing this in mind this research project seeks to answer the following question:
Why is it that rational individuals seem unable to form relationships outside of their immediate sphere of influence and work collaboratively in order to achieve their superior organisational results?
This research was carried out by the HR Director of a national leisure and entertainment company who was in a position to take an organisation development approach based on action research. The primary research tool used to address this question was a series of structured interviews with a cross-section of senior managers in the company. In addition a participatory action research project contributed to the findings as did data gathered from participation in a Corporate Executive Board research project.
Overridingly, all participants in the research interviews felt that there was a need for those at the very top of the organisation to set clear goals and objectives for the organisation and provide the opportunities, tools and techniques to facilitate collaboration in the future.
Throughout the research a majority of interview respondents expressed the view that training and development activities were essential in fostering a collaborative culture and allowing individuals to build rapport and trust with others who they would not normally come into contact with as part of their daily activities. It was also clear that time and attention spent in recruiting and promoting individuals who have a collaborative attitude will pay dividends to the organisation and this is further supported by the literature.
Findings from the research have led to the creation of a ‘Collaboration Index’ which it is hoped will be further developed by test producers Saville (formerly Saville and Holdsworth) to identify and test for collaborative behaviour. A model of ‘sustainable collaboration’ has also been developed with recommendations for practical activities that can lead to the creation of a collaborative culture. A key component in achieving this outcome is the adoption of action research as the basis for all developmental projects resulting in an organisation development approach based on trust in which colleagues are encouraged to learn from colleagues and develop relationships outside their immediate team and to create and share knowledge with each other.
This research illustrates what can be achieved when the Human Resources function uses an OD approach to bring about the creation of a collaborative culture.

Research GroupWork and Learning Research Centre
Department nameInstitute for Work Based Learning
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print18 May 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited18 May 2017
Accepted27 May 2014
Output statusPublished
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