Agreeing is not enough: The constructive role of miscommunication

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Collaborative interaction pervades everyday practices: work meetings, innovation and product design, education and arts. Previous studies have pointed to the central role of acknowledgement and acceptance for the success of joint action, by creating affiliation and signaling understanding. We argue that various forms of explicit miscommunication are just as critical to challenge, negotiate and integrate individual contributions in collaborative creative activities. Through qualitative microanalysis of spontaneous coordination in collective creative LEGO constructions, we individuate three interactional styles: inclusive, characterized by acknowledgment and praise; instructional, characterized by self-repair; and integrative, characterized by widespread self- and other-repair. We investigate how different interaction styles leave distinct traces in the resulting LEGO models. The inclusive interaction style results in concatenations of individual contributions with little coherence and core narrative. The instructional style produces coherent, but individually driven models. Finally, the integrative style generates more innovative models, synthesizing individual
contributions in shared narratives or schemas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInteraction Studies
Pages (from-to)495-525
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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