Ricerca CERCA

Legit Failz: Training academia to have a more inter/trans-disciplinary attitude

estero Thesis abroad


Reference persons GIULIA SONETTI

Research Groups DIST - TrUST, cost action INTREPID

Description For interdisciplinarity to work we need ways to allow for failure/wrongness. This is necessary to achieve a measure of “success” which is more broadly anchored than individual academic disciplines’ existing norms. This research should find examples and case studies demonstrating that exercises and principles from improvisational theatre help us train acceptance, trust and failure: how to make and accept offers but also accepting rejection and lack of control. These skills, to accept, trust and fail, are crucial for a mutual learning mindset, that is much needed in interdisciplinary work settings, nowadays crucial for the success of an organisation.

“Knowing why as well as how lets you improvise on the spot like a chef rather than plodding through a recipe and hoping the dish comes outright.” (Schwarz, 2013, xi). What are the principles to get stuck far less often, achieve higher levels of performance, have a better working relationship and enjoy greater wellbeing? According to Schwarz, there are two contrasting approaches to team leadership, unilateral control and mutual learning (Schwarz, 2013). The unilateral control approach, also known as “the one leader in the room”, is a mindset that 98% of all professionals, whether team leaders or team participants, slip into when serious challenges are affecting the team (Argyris & Schøn, 1974; Putnam, Smith & McArthur, 1997; Schwarz, 2017). The mutual learning mindset, on the other hand, does not mean that the team starts making all decisions by consensus. Rather, it means that each team member is responsible for helping to lead the team – taking initiative and sharing accountability for the team’s functioning and results (Schwarz, 2013, p. 23).

In this research, improvisational training methods as well as other facilitation techniques should be collected and analysed trying to understand how (and if) the create a mutual learning mindset, key for achieving successful interdisciplinary teamwork. Within sustainability research, for instance, it is clear that translating research into impact is not a linear process: it demands skillsets that are often complementary to those of mono-disciplinary work, and it needs spaces for collaborative ideas, practices and ethos to flourish (Efstathiou and Mirmalek, 2014). Facilitating collaborative and participatory research is at the core of addressing sustainability issues yet training for this type of skills is rarely prioritised. What is more, using sustainability as an organising framework involves addressing ethical questions about how Earth’s resources should be shared as well as understanding that sustainability is also about issues such as ‘cultural identities, social and environmental equity, respect, society-nature relationships and tensions between intrinsic and instrumental values’ (Wals and Jickling 2002, p. 223). Thus, there is no unilateral agreement about what sustainability is – making interdisciplinary work hard.

Deadline 22/08/2020      PROPONI LA TUA CANDIDATURA

© Politecnico di Torino
Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY