OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF COLLABORATIVE WORK: AN EXAMINATION AT THE MESO AND MICRO LEVELS OF PUBLIC HEALTH COLLABORATIONS IN INDIANA
thesisposted on 2021-07-22, 03:05 authored by Meghana RawatMeghana Rawat
Collaborative work across different societal and multiple sectors has historically provided innovative solutions to address community development. It continues to be a crucial focus for funders and policymakers in all areas. This dissertation sought to extend organizational communication scholarship’s contribution by examining how collaborative work manifests at the meso level by interviewing 13 key informants who facilitate collaborations in various counties of Indiana and conducting a qualitative structural analysis of the ego-networks of nine community health workers (CHWs)situated in rural, urban and rural-urban counties of Indiana). The mesolevel communicative model of collaboration (Keyton et al., 2008) was applied to do so. The findings of this study support two key theoretical implications for collaborative work from an egocentric network perspective – 1) individual or personal ties of CHWs are perceived as close communicative relationships only when complemented by knowledge and social capital attributes, 2) While diverse ideas are essential for effective collaborations, lack of trust of new people and ideas, specifically in rural contexts may create tensions which can be navigated by finding common ground through close or dense relational ties with an individual already embedded in the socio-cultural context. Additionally, this dissertation extends the mesolevel communicative model to include examining socio-cultural contexts in their examination of communicative acts in assessing collaborative effectiveness. It also furthers the qualitative structural analysis to include case descriptive to understand an actor’s social embeddedness. Lastly, practical implications for those who fund and evaluate collaborative work are presented, including training funders (on local contexts) and collaborators (on determining their success metrics as a collaborative team).