Relational Coordination Research Collaborative

Dear all —
It’s been a busy and exciting month for the RCRC community. We’ve had partners graduate, partners publish their work, and partners appointed to new roles. We’ve also had new partners join us from a variety of industries and countries (see Partner and Publication Updates below). Congratulations on your accomplishments – and welcome aboard!

I’ve been traveling and meeting over the past month with many colleagues who are doing inspiring work in the world of relational coordination. The month began with valuable learning at the Positive Organizational Scholarship Research Conference at the University of Michigan, followed by a trip to North Carolina to visit our partner Donna Sullivan Havens at the University of North Carolina where her team is completing an RC informed intervention in four rural emergency departments.Then RCRC partner Maren Batalden of Cambridge Health Alliance and I traveled to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to co-present at an AHRQ research conference on Improving the Quality and Affordability of Healthcare Through Co-Production of Healthcare Services.  Our focus was measuring patient coproduction for the purpose of strengthening it, using tools such as Glyn Elwyn’s CollaboRATE and our very own RC Survey 2.0 – the workshops were well-received and we enjoyed doing them together!

I had the privilege of introducing relational coordination to participants at Emory Healthcare’s Annual Quality Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, meeting with many wonderful colleagues there including CEO Jonathan Lewin, CQO/CMO Bill Bornstein, and Chief Nurse Executive Sharon Pappas.  Then off to Anaheim, California for the Labor and Employment Relations conference where we gathered to share research and develop strategies for achieving high performance outcomes for working people, their families and their customers. I took part in two excellent symposia that introduced relational coordination into K-12 school improvement efforts, along with our new RCRC partners from the Rochester City School District.  The trip finished with a Lunch and Learn hosted by the Pacific Business Group on Health in downtown San Francisco, and fun visits with my daughter Rose in Berkeley and long-time colleague Ed Schein and his son Peter Schein in Palo Alto.

I look forward to spending my summer working with the RCRC team – including our newest member Jaspreet Mahal – on transforming relationships for high performance around the world and preparing for a busy and exciting fall semester that includes the RCRC Roundtable in Copenhagen, Denmark. Please remember to submit abstracts for the Roundtable on your RC research, your RC practice or your RC teaching innovations!  Details are shown below, and we would love to have each and every one of you there.  Tanya Allain has added a “Roundtable on a Budget” section to our website so if you are concerned about the cost of coming to Copenhagen, please check it out!

Best wishes to you for a happy June,

7th Annual RCRC Roundtable
Creating Change Through
Trust Based Relationships
Submit Your Abstract by June 15th!

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Michele Williams, University of Iowa (in person)

Dr. Ed Schein, MIT Sloan School of Management (virtually)

The world as we know it is undergoing massive changes. A populist groundswell is building up, nurturing a feeling of an ‘us’ versus ‘them.’   How do we create trust in a time of distrust?  How do we build relational coordination among national, community and organizational stakeholders to achieve their desired outcomes?  How do we accomplish RC change in any sector, whether it be healthcare, community health and wellness, public safety, education, professional services, construction, or sustainable global supply chains? At the Roundtable October 19-20, we will explore these questions.  And you will see the world from a different perspective. Literally! For the first time, the Roundtable is taking place outside the U.S. Our location this year will be Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark and one of the major cities in Scandinavia. The Scandinavian countries have been characterized by high levels of trust among citizens, in the judicial system, and even in politicians.

Join us for inspiration from around the world, as we bridge our research and practical experiences to create change. We invite you to bring your research, your teaching or a change initiative you’re involved with and put your head together with fellow researchers and professionals to deepen your knowledge and bring new perspectives to it. You will have a chance to explore Copenhagen and local organizations that have implemented relational coordination, including the City of Copenhagen which will welcome us with a reception in historic City Hall. We can walk-the-talk as we connect between research and practice, and across professions, industries, cultures and nations.Come early or stay the following weekend for fun with your colleagues or family, visiting Tivoli Gardens, biking around town, checking out the youthful scene in the meat packing district, walking or running around the lakes,stopping for Danish coffee, pastries and conversation. Whatever you do, experience Danish hygge (it’s all about coziness and good relations).   And see for yourself how Denmark is working to strengthen “All That We Share” across divisions of race, class and sexual identity.

Submission Instructions:We invite you to submit abstracts by June 15 relating to research, practice or teaching methods, based on work that is either completed or in progress. We welcome submissions from multiple disciplines and methodologies. Research abstracts can include projects that are either completed or in progress. Practice abstracts may include an intervention that is either completed or in progress. Teaching abstracts can include methods for teaching about relational coordination at an undergraduate, graduate or professional level. Please use the electronic submission form included here or below.

Notification of Acceptance and Registration for Roundtable:You will be notified by June 30 at latest whether your project has been selected for presentation. Registration for the Roundtable is open and available here, and early registration ends July 15.

Questions: Feel free to contact Tanya Allain at with questions.

Roundtable Selection Committee and Roundtable Host Committee on our website here.

Introducing Jaspreet Mahal

Jaspreet Mahal is the Research Project Manager at RCRC and comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience in sustainable international development and qualitative research methods. She has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations focused on health, systems development and capacity building with government counterparts. She is particularly interested in training, team building, research and advocacy. Jaspreet is a Fullbright scholar from India and received her joint MA in Sustainable International Development and Women, Gender and Sexuality studies from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She also holds a post-graduate diploma in Health and Hospital Management from the Institute of Health Management and Research, Jaipur, India. As Research Project Manager for the RCRC, Jaspreet will manage multiple research projects examining the impact of RC on outcomes within our key focus areas including healthcare innovations; community health and safety; and school improvement.

Please join us in welcoming Jaspreet to the team!

Academy of Management in Atlanta!

Congratulations to all those who have been accepted to present on relational coordination and related topics at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting this year! We will include information about one or two of these sessions in each newsletter leading up to the conference. On our website is a list of sessions that include RCRC partners. We will be adding more sessions as we receive them from you. We are also planning an RCRC reception, most likely Sunday evening, so stay tuned for more information! If you have a session to share, please email Tanya Allain at

New Developments in Coordination Theory and Practice 

Tuesday, August 8th at 11:30am 

Atlanta Marriott L503 

This symposium highlights new developments in the theory and practice of coordination. While coordination is often defined as managing the interdependence between tasks (Malone & Crowston, 1994), theorists have come to see it also as the management of interdependence between the people who perform the tasks. As a result, while still attending to the technical requirements of the work that is being coordinated – uncertainty, complexity, time constraints, interdependence, etc. – theorists are paying greater attention to the quality of communication and relationships among participants (Weick & Roberts, 1993; Faraj & Sproull, 2000; Gittell, 2002; Quinn & Dutton, 2005; Faraj & Xiao, 2006; Bechky, 2006; Adler, Kwon & Heckscher, 2008; Kellogg, Orlikowski & Yates, 2006; Gittell, 2011). In a sense, coordination is now seen as a sociotechnical process with fundamental implications for how organizations work. In this symposium, we explore four new developments in coordination theory and practice – formal structures as replacement for managerial authority, technological disruption, temporal disruption, and the policy-making process – highlighting the implications for how organizations work.

Sponsors: Organization and Management Theory Division, Organizational Communication and Information Systems Division and Health Care Management Division

Co-Chairs: Jody Hoffer Gittell*, Brandeis Universtiy and Samer Faraj, McGill University

Discussant: Linda Argote, Carnegie Mellon


Exploring Coordination in Self-Managing Organizations (Michael Y. Lee, Harvard Business School)

Losing Touch: How Robots Transform Coordination Practices (Anastasia Sergeeva and Marleen Huysman, VU University and Samer Faraj, McGill University)

Coordination Across Time When Practices are Disrupted (Martha Feldman, UC Irvine and Monica Worline, Stanford University)

Extending Relational Coordination Theory to Develop Policy Agreement Among Stakeholders (Elisabeth Okrant, Brandeis University)

Partner Updates

New Partners Since Last Month
New Publications
  • Angela Aristidou and Michael Barrett (2017).  Coordinating Service Provision in Dynamic Service Settings: A Position Practice Relations Perspective, Academy of Management Journal  (forthcoming).
  • Jennifer Perloff, Alice Rushforth, Lisa Welch, Denise Daudelin, Anthony Suchman, Jody Hoffer Gittell, Hannah Santos, Joanne Beswick, Saleema Moore and Harry Selker  (2017).  Intervening to Enhance Collaboration in Translational Research:  A Relational Coordination Approach.  Journal of Clinical and Translational Science (forthcoming).
  • Lynn A Garvin and Steven R Simon (2017).  Prioritizing Measures of Digital Patient Engagement: A Delphi Expert Panel Study, Journal of Medical Internet Research.
  • Karen Smits and Robert Brownlow (2017).  Collaboration and Crisis in Mega Projects:  A Study in Cross Corporate Culture Conflict and its Resolution.  Independent Journal of Management and Production, 8(2).
Graduations & Dissertations
  • Thomas Huber (2017).  Examining the Role of Micro and Macro Organizational Coordination in Accountable Care Organizations.  University of California Berkeley.
  • Kathy McDonald (2017).  Ambulatory Care Organizations: Improving Diagnosis.  University of California Berkeley.

Upcoming Events

This Week!  June 15-16: RC Intervention Workshop in Boston, MA – In this training, you will learn to use relational coordination as part of interventions to improve collaboration and performance across the continuum from small co­-located work groups to virtual teams to whole organizations and inter-organizational consortia.  The course includes self-study modules, a 1.5-day workshop, and coaching support for a project of your choice. Led by Dr. Tony Suchman of Relationship Centered Health Care and Jody Hoffer Gittell of Brandeis University at the Center for Medical Simulation. Learn more here!

June 25-27: Academy Health in New Orleans with RC presentations, including Caroline Logan (Abt Associates), Thomas Huber (UC Berkeley) and more.

August 4-8: 77th Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA with RC presentations and an RCRC Reception!  See more here.

September 5-7: British Academy of Management with RC presentations by Muhammad Siddique (Institute for Management Science) and more.  See more here.
October 19-20: 7th Annual RCRC Roundtable in Copenhagen. See above and here for details.

October 27-28: System of Complexity Sciences for Healthcare – Embracing Complexity in Health: The Transformation of Science, Practice and Policy at George Washington University in Washington DC.

November 15-18: 2017 American Society of Criminology Meeting in Philadelphia, PA – presentation by Lauren Hajjar (RCRC Director of Research)

November 2017 – May 2018: Leading Organizations to Health – Organizational change initiatives succeed or fail based on the quality of relationships. Relational problems have been cited as the single biggest obstacle to quality improvement projects. Yet most leaders of change projects are not well-prepared for the relational dimension of their work; their training has typically focused on technical analytic tools and control-oriented rather than relational mindsets. As a result, performance suffers.To address this gap we created Leading Organizations to Health, a 7-month institute on leading organizational change for senior and mid-level healthcare leaders. The next cohort begins in November 2017. For more information, please visit here. The institute is led by Tony Suchman (Relationship Centered Healthcare) and Diane Rawlins (InsideOut Consulting).

December 7-9, 2017, February 1-3, 2018, April 12-14, 2018: Rediscovering the Heart of Health Care: A Courage to Lead Retreat Series in Island Wood – Seattle, WA. Facilitators are Richard Shugerman and RCRC Partner, Diane Rawlins. Click here to learn more, register and download the brochure.

Have an event to share with the RCRC community?  Email Tanya Allain at