Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Social Mechanisms of Team Science: A Descriptive Case Study Using a Multilevel Systems Perspective Employing Reciprocating Structuration Theory
by Lotrecchiano, Gaetano Romano, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2012, 342; 3502621
Abstract (Summary)

Though accepted that "team science is needed to tackle and conquer the health problems that are plaguing our society" (Disis & Slattery, 2010, p. 1) significant empirical evidence of team mechanisms and functional dynamics is still lacking in abundance. Through a social constructivist worldview (Creswell, 2007) this case study uses a grounded multilevel mixed methods (Borner, et al., 2010) approach to determine social mechanisms of cross-disciplinary teams (CDTs) observing a National Institutes of Health-funded research network. Observations, interviews, focus groups and through the use of the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) (Cameron and Quinn, 2006) data were collected and analyzed using qualitative coding to inform a micro/meso level of analysis between February 2010 and December 2011.

Aim 1 sets out to determine social structuring mechanisms in CDTs. It searched for the dynamics that are at the core of team collaboration by focusing on descriptive elements found in team interactions on the individual, group, and network levels (Hedström & Swedberg, 1998). Aim 2 determines how social mechanisms emerge in a transdisciplinary team. As transdisciplinarity (TD) is an unlikely constant state in social systems, it may at times be a novel outcome of team science collaborations. At other times it may be dormant to lesser multi- and interdisciplinary functions embedded within group interactions (Klein, 2008). Through theoretical and emergent coding and graphical mapping of present and preferred change perceptions of those charged with crossing disciplinary and social boundaries the answer to how these mechanism emerge has been achieved.

Findings show strong evidence of role and discipline perceptual differences that when analyzed separately provide differing insights into team functioning. When role and discipline were considered simultaneously, certain value-latent characteristics emerged as part of individual's self-perception of one's contribution to team functioning. Four main social mechanisms were identified: change, kinship, tension, and heritage. These contain identifiable team dynamics that serve as core evidence for specific team dynamics that support CDTs. This micro/meso analysis suggests that individual participation in team interactions can inform the structuration of individual role and disciplinary perceptions of macro level problems.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schwandt, David
Commitee: Fiore, Stephen, Gorman, Margaret, Hinds, Pamela, Lantz, Paula
School: The George Washington University
Department: Human and Organizational Learning
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 73/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Health sciences
Keywords: Recriprocating, Social interactions, Social mechanisms, Structuration, Team science, Transdisciplinarity
Publication Number: 3502621
ISBN: 9781267258205