There are many programmes of the EU which have the objective of bringing actors from different member states together, forging networks and encouraging collaboration over national boundaries. Some programmes only link people from similar institutions or professions across borders, while others are more ambitious and encourage joint working not only in transnational, but also in inter-institutional, inter-professional and inter-cultural networks. Diversity in such transnational workgroups is usually seen as a resource and added value for collaborative planning. However, it can also be seen as a barrier and an increase of complexity and ambiguity, or else the benefits of transnational working are perceived as outweighed by the costs. That is, heterogeneity in project groups can have both positive and negative effects on group performance. On the one hand, transnational working provides opportunities for innovation and learning, but equally there are dangers of misunderstandings, confusions and communication barriers. Moreover, many actors are inexperienced in working in complex intercultural contexts.Working in transnational networks therefore requires a skilled management role with competences to act in fluid working contexts with heterogeneous actors from diverse institutional and national cultures. To identify the skills profile for the "transnational networker", the paper draws on two formerly discrete fields: planning theory (in particular discussions on skills development for planning in European contexts), and business administration (specifically debates on diversity management). The paper combines these two fields, deriving therefrom a skills agenda for actors participating in and managing cross-border and transnational project groups in social and spatial planning.
|Keywords:||European Integration, Regional Planning, Transnational Cooperation, Diversity Management, Intercultural Skills|
Research Associate, School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Consultant, Transnational Evaluations, Bonn, Northrhine-Westfalia, Germany
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