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This article is a part of the collaborative research project to develop a general theory of collaboration.
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Emergent shared understandings are the conceptual space which is characterised by shared understandings unique to the collaborative domain and the participants which emerge throughout the process of knowledge sharing (and experiential sharing in Second class contexts), collaborative contribution and cultural negotiation.

Emergent shared understandings is currently listed as a
first class collaborative element,
meaning it is an element of all human collaborative situations.

The importance of emergence Edit

Emergence describes the manifestation of structures at a higher level that are not explicitly represented in its lower-level parts. In other words, how and what constitutes the output of a collaborative process is not (and can not be) explicitly represented in the individual contributions made by the participants. Therefore, the unfolding of a collaboration's output cannot be assumed and must be continually addressed by the participants.

Without the emergence of jointly developing shared understandings, the process becomes decidedly more cooperative, and may even belong more to the realms of coordination.

Further research Edit

Coming to a better conception of a collaborative participant's shared understandings regarding a collaboration's objectives and process, as well as of the concept of 'shared understandings' itself, might help enhance the overall outcome as well as expose hidden assumptions.


Research Questions Edit

  • How might emergent shared understandings be evaluated and measured, i.e., might processes be developed for establishing and developing shared understandings, and exposing emergent shared misunderstandings?
  • How might shared understandings differ from emergent shared awareness?
    • Shared awareness might develop apace within and during a collaboration, and come about via experiential sharing.

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