Ann Locke Davidson, Janet Schofield, and Janet Stocks
The need for those working in a variety of settings to interact effectively with technical experts has grown dramatically in recent years as computers have become essential to the performance of an increasing broad range of professional work. This article presents a case of this sort of interprofessional interaction, exploring the process and outcomes of collaboration between technical professionals and educators working to bring Internet access to an urban public school district. Drawing on field note and interview data, the case reported here illustrates how differences in institutional routines and professional values can generate differing agendas, contrasting assumptions, and contrasting expectations concerning project products and outcomes among collaborators from different professional worlds. In the case we describe, these differences affected such central matters as the types and usefulness of technical resources to which users had access as well as users' confidence in the technology. The case also illustrates how aspects of this interprofessional conflict were addressed through an organizational change. The kinds of issues that arose in this project are likely to occur in a variety of professional settings; therefore examination of this case provides insight into a variety of issues and dynamics that should be considered when embarking upon or analyzing any interprofessional collaborative effort, and particularly one that involves technical professionals.
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