Collaborative academic projects in a cross-cultural context
This thesis presents a qualitative study of the factors impacting on collaborative projects in a cross-cultural setting, in this case academic projects carried out under the aegis of a large co-operative programme linking Europe and India. A case study approach is used, focussing on four projects that developed between European and Indian academic researchers, aimed at transferring knowledge between the two continents. The factors contributing to the success or failure of the projects are assessed. The major factors identified are fourfold: The alignment of the project with the personal goals of the participants The social, cultural and institutional contexts in which the projects take place The role of the coordinators The interaction and communication activity of participants, including the role of computer mediated communication. On the basis of the results of the study, an existing Activity Theory model developed by Cole (1988; 1998) to account for cross-cultural research is extended to encompass collaboration. The potential of the model as a management tool for future cross-cultural collaborative projects is presented.