Collaboration is essential to manage complex real world problems. We used phenomenologic methods to elaborate a description of collaboration between two departments at an academic medical center who considered their relationship to represent a model of effective collaboration. Key collaborative structures included a shared vision and commitment by leaders, rigorous quality improvement, clear delineation of roles with built-in flexibility, ongoing commitment to formal and informal communication channels and conflict resolution, relationship development grounded in respect and responsiveness, and shared training in a supportive learning environment with legitimate participation fostering skill development. This study reveals the complexity and resources required for collaboration which both explains why collaboration is not as easy to achieve and identifies processes that foster collaboration.


Collaboration, Phenomenology, Family Medicine, and Obstetrics


This work was funded by the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Foundation, and was supported by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine & Community Health, and the Departments of Family Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan, and the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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