Paving the way for successful twinning:

Using grounded theory to understand the contribution of twin pairs in twinning collaborations
Published:February 21, 2020DOI:



      Twinning collaborations, where two groups — from educational institutions, hospitals or towns — work together cross-culturally on joint goals, are increasingly common worldwide. Pairing up individuals, so-called twin pairs, is thought to contribute to successful collaboration in twinning projects, but as yet, there is no empirical evidence or theory that offers insight into the value of the pair relationship for twinning.


      To explore the contribution of one-to-one relationships between twins to twinning projects, as exemplified in projects between Dutch and Moroccan, and Dutch and Sierra Leone midwives.


      We conducted thirteen in-depth interviews with midwives from two twinning collaborations. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using an iterative, grounded theory process, yielding a theoretical understanding of one-to-one twinning relationships for twinning collaborations.


      Participant comments fell into four substantive categories: 1) Being named a twin, 2) moving beyond culture to the personal level, 3) searching for common ground to engage, 4) going above and beyond the twinning collaboration. Their interplay demonstrates the value of twin pairs in paving the way for successful twinning.


      A complex combination of contextual inequities, personality, and cultural differences affect the twin relationship. Trusting relationships promote effective collaboration, however, as ‘trust’ cannot be mandated, it must be built by coaching twins in personal flexibility and (cultural) communication.


      By offering original insights into the ways twinning relationships are built, our research explores how twin pairs can enhance the success of twinning projects.


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