This article is a part of the collaborative research project to develop a general theory of collaboration.
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.
The importance of emergence
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.
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.
- Explore possible links with intersubjectivity.
- Explore the notion and impact of emergent shared misunderstandings. Can emergent shared misunderstandings ever be useful in the collaborative process?
- Explore the notion that development (especially of the human mind) is always the result of a collaborative process, and in how far individual achievement can be understood as delayed product of prior collaboration.
- 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.