Purpose – (yinyáng in Pinyin) is about interconnectedness rather than opposites. The purpose of this paper is to highlight how collaboration connects and strengthens the efforts across the sector and reinforces how the sum of the parts is greater than any one university alone. This paper shares the experience of conducting a collaborative project with three universities. It illustrates the fine balancing act of collaboration (yin) with competition (yang) amongst three of Australia’s higher education institutions at a national level, with the aim of contributing to the career development of professionals in the fields of library services and eResearch.
Design/methodology/approach – Bond University, University of Western Australia and Griffith University have collaborated to develop a career mapping toolkit which builds on an earlier commissioned project completed by Council of Australian IT Directors (CAUDIT) focusing on enterprise information technology roles. This tri-institutional collaborative project reviews in detail the skills, knowledge and abilities of library and eResearch management roles in the respective organisations.
Findings – This project has been hugely rewarding for the initial three project partners who worked and collaborated well together, successfully completing project goals within agreed timeframes. Looking forward, career pathing will become more widespread as managers receive the requisite training, take ownership of these activities and grow to fully realise the value and potential of active career management to team performance. Ultimately, the use of the career pathing toolkit will enhance career satisfaction of the individual which in turn will lift the productivity of the organisational unit.
Research limitations/implications – To ensure the ongoing viability of the career pathing toolkit, it is necessary to measure its relevance and effectiveness: each institution is confident in adopting/modifying the final product for internal use. This demonstrates confidence in the quality of the work produced by the other collaborators; adoption of the product by institutions which were not part of the initial collaboration; and willingness of another institution (not originally involved) to join the collaborative project and make a contribution.
Practical implications – The catalyst for collaboration between the three universities was realised when the authors saw an opportunity to address the important and pressing issue of career and workforce planning as a partnership project. The main objective for collaboration was to achieve a more comprehensive and speedier project outcome.