Collective Capability in Multi Agency Services

Peter Johnson, Harry Daniels, Grace Rose Williams

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This paper develops a conceptual framework for supporting the development of systems to support Collective Capability (CC) in Multi Agency Services (MAS). In particular it develops a conceptual basis for Human-Agent collaborations in multi organization federations developing and delivering services and providing a joined up collective capability. In that context a further crucial aspect of this conceptual framework is in ensuring situational awareness (SA) is achieved within a multi-organization federation. In the paper we further address the need for situational awareness and introduce the concepts of knotworking and relational agency as mechanisms for achieving SA in MAS. In addition a yet further significant feature is that of the need for the CC of the MAS to continually learn and to deliver self-organization of services in multi-organization federations. In this context we develop the concept of expansive learning. Together these concepts provide a conceptual framework to support CC in MAS. Here we follow Engeström et al. (1999) who developed the concept of knotworking to describe the “construction of constantly changing combinations of people and artefacts over lengthy trajectories of time and widely distributed in space” (p. 345). Whereas the notion of expansive learning embodies the idea of learning what is not yet there. Rather than learning the existing rules in a setting it is learning or creating new understandings. In the settings of inter-professional activity which concern us relational agency is a capacity for fluid and responsive work. It involves working with others to recognise and respond to what matters for each profession in complex professional activities.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2017


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