Breaking Out of the Box

Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Faculty Work

Marilyn J. Amey, Michigan State University
Dennis F. Brown, Michigan State University

Published 2006

The first section of the book, including the introduction, presents a discussion of concepts and definitions of interdisciplinarity and collaboration, and introduces a model of Interdisciplinary Collaboration. The second section of the book examines how the interdisciplinary collaboration model and concepts make sense in academic organizations and affect academic work. The chapters focus on organizational, cultural, cognitive, and leadership aspects of interdisciplinary collaboration and are organized as follows: Organizational Structure and Bureaucratic (Re)Alignment. Including departmental structures, faculty role expectations, alignment of bureaucratic processes, and organizational neutral space. Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Academic Culture. Including disciplinary cultures, creating culture change through graduate training and expanding the culture of faculty rewards, and matrix organizations Intellectual Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Including sociocultural perspectives, interdisciplinarity as transformative learning, and intellectual neutral space Leadership and Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Including institutional challenges, team leadership, the role of cultural leadership, and learning leadership. The book concludes with observations from the research and provides summary thoughts on issues of neutrality, changing academic work to accommodate interdisciplinary collaboration, and leading the learning organization.