Strangers on a train: the politics of collaboration

Baguley, Margaret ORCID: and Kerby, Martin ORCID: and MacDonald, Abbey and Cruickshank, Vaughan (2021) Strangers on a train: the politics of collaboration. The Australian Educational Researcher, 48. pp. 183-208. ISSN 0311-6999


This article explores the experience of three research teams operating across a variety of educational contexts. As members of these teams, the authors were privy to a range of opportunities and challenges that emphasised how political collaboration can be, even when the team formation is an outgrowth of previous personal and professional relationships. There are a range of inhibitors and enablers that impact on the success of a collaborative team, which can be further exacerbated by increasingly performative requirements and expectations in the university sector. In response, university academics seek collaborative opportunities in order to enhance research productivity and to establish networks capable of attracting competitive grant funding. However, little attention has been given to the experiences, attitudes and values of research team members, particularly those undertaking leadership responsibilities. Using the premise of Hitchcock’s (Strangers on a train [Motion picture], Warner Brothers, Hollywood, 1951) film noir Strangers on a Train as a metaphoric device, three collaborative teams are investigated using a narrative approach. The narrative account draws upon the authors’ reflections of their participation in the teams which are fused in a single imaginative vignette in order to identify the key factors that contributed to the success or demise of the teams. The findings revealed the critical importance of established relationships, clear vision and communication, and institutional rewards.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2020 06:26
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2021 01:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: collaborative teams, higher education, research, politics, universities, collaboration, collaborative research
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130304 Educational Administration, Management and Leadership
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education
39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390403 Educational administration, management and leadership
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9304 School/Institution > 930401 Management and Leadership of Schools/Institutions
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