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The Struggle is Real: Dealing with Tension in Collaboration

Students collaborate on project

Collaboration – this coming together of two individuals or multiple entities to create something greater – is all around us. At times we love it and other times we hate it – usually because it challenges us.

Dr. Carrisa Hoelscher, assistant professor of communication at Missouri State University, explains her primary focus of research: Collaboration and the tensions that come along with it.

There is a major misunderstanding of the concept of tension. More than that, she is surprised by the lack of self-awareness she has seen when studying this tension. She elaborates.

Hoelscher’s work is not on debate or dispute resolution. However, she says that as you visit with family members over the holidays – some with whom you may have ideological differences – it is important to recognize how all parties are experiencing this tension. 

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