Dialogue Mapping for Collaborative Problem Solving in Distributed Teams


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Case study dealing with a LinkedIn-discussion in "The Future of Work"

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Dialogue Mapping for Collaborative Problem Solving in Distributed Teams

  1. 1. Dialogue Mapping for Collaborative Problem Solving in Distributed Teams
  2. 2. The case • A multi-stakeholder discussion on „The Future of Work“ which has taken place on LinkedIn in August, 2013. • The discussion was triggered by an inital post on the topic, suggesting some future developments • This presentation demonstrates how reconstructing the discussion with a dialogue- map can lead to better group communcation and decisionmaking
  3. 3. http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130820132131-758147-the-future-of-work
  4. 4. The Starting Point • More than 80 comments without hardly any structure (just chronological order and post directly answering to each other) • Redundancy: Many posts repeating things that already had been stated • Implicit cross-references single claims within the discussion • No clear focus: Direction and goal of the collaborative effort are not well defined
  5. 5. Dialogue mapping: The basic structure We chunked the information provided by the participants of the discussion accordingly to this scheme:
  6. 6. The initial question/statement This is how the starter of the discussion translated into a dialogue map:
  7. 7. Some re-arrangements The initial statement lists „What will the future be like“ and „How should we respond“ as two different issues. But in fact, answers to the first question will deliver criteria for answering the second one! As there are many different and maybe contradictory claims about what the future will be like to be considered, the whole situation is easily getting complex. A dialogue will clarify the issue.
  8. 8. The original structure
  9. 9. After re-arrangement
  10. 10. The result: One map listing claims about the future of work...
  11. 11. And a second, larger map, nested into the first one. The second map deals with proposal for action which are following upon the claim „The firm as an organization... is ... not necessary any more.“
  12. 12. Analysis (1): Dominant Topic There seems to be emerging one topic as the focus point of the discussion: the rise of the freelancer and the end of the firm as it used to be. This is hardly surprising, given that the discussion is taken place on LinkedIn (a place where especially freelancers are seeking for contacts and customers). The focus on the ‚virtual company‘ can be seen as a common point interest – or as a certain bias in the discussion.
  13. 13. Analysis (2): Open questions The look at maps reveals: • Those elements that have provoked the most reactions (most further elements attached to them) • Those claims or proposals are debated (followed by „Pro“ as well as „Con“) • Those claims or proposals lacking any backup through further evidence • Open questions
  14. 14. Analysis (3): Stakeholder Also, one cann attach different stakeholders to the elements of the map. • Some of the questions and proposals are of relevance for someone running a company („Rethink how to create effective organizations“. • Others for indivual workers or freelancers (gaining necessary experiences outside the firm) . • Still other questions might be of interest for organizations dealing with policy issues and collective interests of a certain group (Secure some social safety for workers / freelancers (secure their retirement without putting the burden on governments).
  15. 15. Analysis (3): Stakeholder (cont.) • „Securing intellectual assets“ could be of interest for someone providing services in the field of knowledge managment or internal communications • “Ensure consistency and security, protect IP and company network” could be of interest for software companies • “The Internet has unlocked new dimensions of transparency and trust outside the firm”: This is highly relevant for providers of (public) social networks and agencies like “Odesk”
  16. 16. With the help of tags, the relevant elements can be marked and shown on the map (here: elements pertaining to „managmenet“).
  17. 17. Follow-up For clients who work with us, we offer several possibilities to continue the process: • Survey: Ask team-members on their opinion about open issues, relevance of elements within the discussion and suitability of action proposals • Assign research concerning open issues • Comission a report summarizing the discussion • Continue the discussion/start a new discussion centred on some chosen topics within the map • Use maps for team collaboration. (Maps can be converted in different software-formats for various uses.)
  18. 18. If your are interested in seeing the whole map – here it is (PDF): http://www.explorat.de/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/20130827b_futureofwork.pdf Contact: groetker<at>explorat.de