A model for common ground development to support collaborative health communities

Craig E. Kuziemsky*, Tracey L. O'Sullivan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Common ground is necessary for developing collaboration as part of building resilience for public health preparedness. While the importance of common ground as an essential component of collaboration has been well described, there is a need for studies to identify how common ground develops over time, across individual and group dimensions, and the contexts that influence its development. This paper studied common ground development in three Canadian communities between October 2010 and March 2011 through a project on capacity building for disaster management. Disaster management requires the integration of paid and volunteer participants across public and private sectors and is therefore a good domain to study common ground development. We used directed qualitative content analysis to develop a model of common ground development over time that describes its progression through coordinative, cooperative and collaborative common ground. We also identified how common ground develops at micro (individual) and macro (group) levels, as well as how agency, technology and geographical contexts influence its development. We then use the four phases of disaster management to illustrate how our model can support longitudinal common ground development. Our findings provide useful insight to enable proactive development of common ground in collaborative health communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-238
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Canadian communities
  • Collaboration
  • Common ground
  • Context
  • Disaster management
  • Macro and micro development


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