Dear all–

Just returned from The Summer Institute in Berlin co-hosted by the Taos Institute, a community of social construction practitioners, and Ramboll Attractor, a European management consulting firm. In its fifth year the Summer Institute brought together 250 people mostly from around Europe, especially Scandinavia, to explore social construction and systemic thinking in the transformation of people and organizations. There was much attention to connections between mind, body and spirit through conversation, singing and visual representations, as well as excellent workshops on relational leadership and more.

Many thanks to Taos co-founder Ken Gergen for inviting me to give a workshop there on Relational Coordination! The first use I have found of the term Relational Coordination was in a book by Ken so it was lovely to finally meet. In Realities and Relationships, Ken referred to Relational Coordination as coordinating relationships through conversation while I refer to Relational Coordination as coordinating work through relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect.

Although only two of us at The Summer Institute were from the RCRC community (myself and RCRC partner Carsten Hornstrup from McMann Berg in Denmark), many there were highly interested in Relational Coordination, already knew about it and were eager to apply it in the organizations they work with. The work of the RCRC appears ready to take off in Europe and Scandinavia.

And the synergies with social construction are strong. My own work began years ago from a social construction perspective. As a political philosophy undergraduate student at Reed College, my thesis was “The Socially Embedded Human Subject – A Moral Standpoint for Achieving Social Justice.” According to this thesis, we shape and are shaped by each other through our relationships starting at birth. We are therefore socially constructed human subjects, which I believe has implications for justice, entitlement and the distribution of opportunity.

Relational Coordination emerged later in my thinking as a PhD student at MIT as I explored the organization of work. Starting with the flight departure process, I observed that work is coordinated through networks of role relationships that are sometimes highly functioning but often are not. Our identities are socially constructed and reconstructed through the relational dynamics of the work we do, and organizations shape and are shaped by the way this process unfolds, for better or worse. Leveraging this dynamic in a more intentional way to achieve positive outcomes for workers, their customers and their organizations is the mission of the Relational Coordination Research Collaborative.

And so the journey continues. Today the RCRC team is proud to announce the launch of our online Learning Center with many resources developed by members of the RCRC community and a Blog where we can continue existing conversations as well as launch new ones.

Please feel free to visit Relational Coordination Analytics, Inc. whose website goes live this Friday! RCA is our partner in measuring and analyzing Relational Coordination for the purpose of helping organizations achieve their desired performance outcomes.

Also, if you plan to attend the Academy of Management Meetings in Orlando this August, please send a note to the RCRC team. I will host a get together there either Sunday or Monday evening (August 11th or 12th). See here under Events for some of the RCRC and POS events to be featured at the Academy meetings.

Happy summer to all (and happy winter to our colleagues from down under)!