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The power of information

February 2, 2012

I woke up before 5am today with a slightly paranoid idea in my head. It is still there, so I am wondering if anyone has a hypothetical solution.

What if the coordinator withholds information from the partners that they should know? It is not an existing case, but because of a friendly discussion I had a few days ago the idea does not want to go away.

Let’s say that you will have a reporting deadline coming up and you have this feeling in your gut that should know about a problem the EC has with the project. I was thinking of a few reasons why the coordinator would not share.

Well, the first is the worst, which is that they are incompetent and let’s say they choose rather not to deal with the problem then getting embarrassed. Then there is the option that they do not want to bother the partners with problems, they will solve it because this is what coordinators do.

Or, they want to wait till they figure out the solution and then present the problem and the solution together to the partners. I am sure I could come up with something more creative, but it is too early for that.

So besides the fact that the coordinator has the contractual obligation to share the information with the partners what else I can come up with? Because of a gut feeling I do not go around and contact the officer, I might cause more troubles.

The psychological phases the partners are going through in such a case could be an interesting topic for analysis. Joking? Yes, but why not? Comments are welcome.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. Kay-Uwe Clemens permalink
    February 2, 2012 10:02 am

    Hi Gabriella,

    In the second paragraph is “they”. Does that means the “EC”?

    If yes, I guess I have your point but could you please tell me if you mentioned:

    A) The coordinator is trying to hide the current project status (results) from the EC.
    B) The coordinator is not sharing information within the project partners.

    I am mor inclined to A. Am I right?

  2. February 2, 2012 10:44 am

    I meant that the EC has a problem with the project. The EC officer informs the coordinator, but the information is not passed on to the partners. So they do yot have a clue about the problem.

  3. Kay-Uwe Clemens permalink
    February 2, 2012 2:00 pm

    I see. In that case a clear information to the project partners about the communicated problems is necessary as well as a paper with proposals to the project partners how to find a solution or a right answer.
    The proposal paper should descripe the urgent informations:
    1. Do the officer needs an answer
    2. If yes, until when
    3. Are there examples of other projects which were stopped in the case of no right solutions
    4. Are there examples of other projects which can proceed with the right solution or answer
    5. An explanation to the partners what can happend when there is no rigt answer in the right time schedule.


  4. Kay-Uwe Clemens permalink
    February 2, 2012 2:04 pm

    In fact there is a chance of a lot of stress and dicussions with the partners but why not? Thats the business and they will survive only if they can all handle such a topic.

  5. February 3, 2012 12:38 pm

    The question is not really what the coordinator should do. That is ok. The question is if you are a partner and you have this gut feeling that something is not right and you think the coordinator withholds information – what do you do?

    • Kay-Uwe Clemens permalink
      February 3, 2012 4:30 pm

      Ahhhhh! The first of all is a very direct call to the coordinator and you request a meeting with all project partners in order to talk about the current status. Within that meeting you have to talk about your raising fears and why the fears are raising. That will start a open discussion.

      • February 3, 2012 4:52 pm

        Ok, what about one more detail: It is the final reporting period and you do not have the time or the budget to have a meeting and the coordinator does not answer your e-mails, so you cannot organise a skype call either. Or maybe, just to make it more complicated. The coordinator does answer, but only the assisstant having not all information and having no right to make a decision. So the answer will be – I have to ask.

        This is a theoretical discussion, but I found the situation worth thinking about. 🙂

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