On bonding | AUA Blog

Despoina Xenikaki
DREAMS IE Project Coordinator

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
University of London

In project administration, it often happens that we deal with people we classify either as internals or externals. Internals could be people we share our office space with or immediate colleagues. Externals are usually people we liaise with but perhaps don’t work in the same institution as ours and are usually research partners or collaborators.

And yet, research projects often provide that melting pot where being internal or external becomes a grey area as people come together to share ideas, collaborate and produce data and results. These people connect with one another due to common research interests and a belief in a common goal.

But what is it that makes people want work together? What makes a collaboration rewarding? What is the glue that holds people together and cancels all barriers?

I believe that part of it has to do with trust. There’s a belief that whatever happens, people will be able to overcome any research, financial or administrative related problems that arise and focus on the outcome. By trusting one another, each person becomes the important link that will push things forward and contribute to the goal.

Another thing could be that people who share the same life experiences find they have more things in common with one another and that makes them bond better. Living in the same country, sharing the same hobbies, having the same number of children, liking the same books, loving coffee, all these things create a basis upon which strong relationships are fostered.

What also counts, is what happened in the past. If for the last ten years, I have collaborated with a partner and we know each other very well and work well together, it’s likely that we will work again. Familiarity inspires repetition. Repetition arouses action.

And last, what happens in the present counts too. At a recent meeting, organized by my research group with partners from overseas, we all went for a lunch time walk. It didn’t matter so much what we were doing, the walk provided the platform to share a positive experience that would make us feel good about ourselves and therefore make our collaboration more enjoyable.

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