Multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary collaboration: implications for vocational psychology

  • Audrey Collin


The literature on interdisciplinarity identifies several forms of collaboration: multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and interdisciplinary (as bridge building or integration). To assist vocational psychology translate its interdisciplinary discourse into action, this paper uses that literature to identify the benefits, challenges and conditions for success. It indicates that the form of collaboration needed must be decided, and the cognitive, social, organizational and institutional aspects of the collaborating disciplines considered. It highlights the significance of interpersonal relationships when establishing and maintaining collaboration.


Interdisciplinarity Vocational psychology Definitions 


Collaboration multidisciplinaire, interdisciplinaire et transdisciplinaire: implications pour la psychologie vocationnelle.

La littérature sur l’interdisciplinarité identifie plusieurs formes de collaboration: multidisciplinaire, transdisciplinaire et interdisciplinaire (comme discipline-pont ou intégrative). Pour aider la psychologie vocationnelle à transposer son discours interdisciplinaire dans l’action, cet article utilise cette littérature pour identifier les avantages qu’elle peut en attendre, les défis qui l’attendent et les conditions d’un transfert réussi. Il indique qu’il faut décider de la forme de collaboration requise et considérer les aspects cognitifs, sociaux, organisationnels et institutionnels des disciplines concernées par la collaboration. Il met en évidence la signification des rapports interpersonnels quand on établit et maintient une collaboration.


Multidisziplinäre, interdisziplinäre und transdisziplinäre Zusammenarbeit: Auswirkungen für die Berufspsychologie. Die Literatur zur Interdisziplinarität unterscheidet mehrere Formen der Zusammenarbeit: Multidisziplinär, transdisziplinär und interdisziplinär (im Sinne von Brücken bauend oder integrierend). Um die Berufspsychologie darin zu unterstützen, den interdisziplinären Diskurs zu konkretem Handeln weiterzuentwickeln, verwendet dieser Artikel diese Literatur, um die Vorteile, die Herausforderungen und die Voraussetzungen für einen Erfolg zu identifizieren. Es wird darauf hingewiesen, dass die Form der erforderlichen Zusammenarbeit festgelegt werden muss, und dass die kognitiven, sozialen, organisatorischen und institutionellen Aspekte der zusammenarbeitenden Disziplinen bedacht werden müssen. Es wird die Bedeutung interpersoneller Beziehungen für die Einleitung und Durchführung jeder Zusammenarbeit herausgestellt.


Colaboración multidisciplinar, interdisciplinar y transdisciplinar: Implicaciones para la Psicología Vocacional. En la literatura sobre la interdisciplinariedad se identifican varias formas de colaboración: multidisciplinar, trandisciplinar e interdisciplinar (en el sentido de integración o creación de puentes). Para ayudar a la Psicología Vocacional a traducir su discurso interdisciplinar a la acción, en este artículo se utiliza esa literatura para señalar los beneficios, retos y condiciones para el éxito. Se indica que debe decidirse la forma de colaboración y considerarse los aspectos cognitivos, sociales, organizativos e institucionales de las disciplinas colaboradoras. Se destaca la importancia de las relaciones interpersonales a la hora de establecer y mantener la colaboración.


  1. Arthur, M. B., Hall, D. T., & Lawrence, B. S. (1989). Generating new directions in career theory: The case for a transdisciplinary approach. In M. B. Arthur, D. T. Hall, & B. S. Lawrence (Eds.), Handbook of career theory (pp. 7–25). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. (2005). Training program grant guide. Strategic Training Initiative in Health Research. Retrieved July 15, 2007, from
  3. Collin, A. (2006). Conceptualising the family-friendly career: The contribution of career theories and a systems approach. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 34(3), 295–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Collin, A. (2009). Promoting a dialogue between the vocational psychological and organisational perspectives on career: One step towards realising the multidisciplinarity of career studies. In A. Collin & W. Patton (Eds.), The vocational psychological and organisational perspectives on career: A multidisciplinary dialogue. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. (in press).Google Scholar
  5. Collin, A., & Patton, W. (2009). The vocational psychological and organisational perspectives on career: A multidisciplinary dialogue. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. (in press).Google Scholar
  6. Collin, A., & Young, R. A. (2000). The future of career. In A. Collin & R. A. Young (Eds.), The future of career (pp. 276–300). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Fouad, N. A. (2001). The future of vocational psychology: Aiming high. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 59, 183–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Herr, E. L. (1990). Issues in career research. In R. A. Young & W. A. Borgen (Eds.), Methodological approaches to the study of career (pp. 3–21). Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  9. Hesketh, B. (2001). Adapting vocational psychology to cope with change. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 59, 203–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Khapova, S. N., Arthur, M. B., & Wilderom, C. P. M. (2007). The subjective career in the knowledge economy. In H. P. Gunz & M. A. Peiperl (Eds.), Handbook of career studies (pp. 114–130). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Klein, J. T. (1990). Interdisciplinarity: History, theory, and practice. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Lattuca, L. R. (2003). Creating interdisciplinarity: Grounded definitions from college and university faculty. History of Intellectual Culture, 3(1), 1–20. Retrieved July 15, 2007, from
  13. Mallon, W. T., & Burnton, S. (2005). The functions of centers and institutes in academic biomedical research. Analysis in Brief, 5(1). Retrieved June 2005, from Association of American Medical Colleges (AAME):
  14. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. (n.d.). Annex 4, draft policies and guidelines on the review of applications in interdisciplinary research areas. Retrieved 15 August, 2007, from
  15. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. (1972). Interdisciplinarity: Problems of teaching and research in universities. Paris: Author.Google Scholar
  16. Savickas, M. L. (2001a). Introduction: Envisioning the future of vocational psychology. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 59, 167–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Savickas, M. L. (2001b). The next decade in vocational psychology: Mission and objectives. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 59, 284–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Savickas, M. L., & Baker, D. B. (2005). The history of vocational psychology: Antecedents, origin, and early development. In W. B. Walsh & M. L. Savickas (Eds.), Handbook of vocational psychology (3rd ed., pp. 15–50). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  19. Savickas, M. L., & Walsh, W. B. (Eds.). (1996). Handbook of career counseling theory and practice. Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black.Google Scholar
  20. Schummer, J. (2004). Interdisciplinary issues in nanoscale research. In D. Baird, A. Nordmann, & J. Schummer (Eds.), Discovering the nanoscale (pp. 9–20). Amsterdam: IOS Press.Google Scholar
  21. Slatin, C., Galizzi, M., Melillo, K. D., Mawn, B., & Phase In Healthcare Team. (2004). Conducting interdisciplinary research to promote healthy and safe employment in health care: Promises and pitfalls. Public Health Reports, 119, 60–72.Google Scholar
  22. University of Birmingham’s Research and Commercial Services. (2007a). ‘Top tips’ for doing interdisciplinary research. Retrieved August 15, 2007, from University of Birmingham Research and Commercial Services Web site:
  23. University of Birmingham’s Research and Commercial Services. (2007b). Examples of interdisciplinary research projects. Retrieved August 15, 2007, from University of Birmingham Research and Commercial Services Web site:
  24. Young, R. A., & Collin, A. (2004). Introduction: Constructivism and social constructionism in the career field [Special issue]. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 64, 373–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.De Montfort UniversityLeicester,UK

Personalised recommendations