Research Briefing, February 2018

blogimage_researchbriefingEach month, there is new, fascinating research emerging that provides practical insight into how the government, business, and non-profit sectors partner to address society’s most pressing problems. To keep our readers up to date on this work, which comes from a variety of academic and non-academic sources, we compile a monthly briefing and publish it on our blog — for researchers who want to stay up to date on progress in the field of cross-sector collaboration and practitioners who are interested in how this research may be applicable to their work.

This month’s briefing includes articles about:

  • value conflicts in collaborative governance,,
  • knowledge, emotion, and power in social partnership,
  • the economics of public-private partnership,
  • public private collaborations and urban mobility, and
  • a collaborative leadership training program.


Coping with Value Conflicts in Interorganizational Collaborations,” Perspectives on Public Management and Governance, Stephen B Page, Melissa M Stone, John M Bryson, and Barbara C Crosby

Abstract: “Because they reflect clashing beliefs about the desired ends and means of public policy, value conflicts are challenging and sometimes even impossible to resolve. If the increasingly widespread use of collaborative governance is to bear fruit, researchers and practitioners need to understand how collaborations cope with value conflicts. This article identifies constructs and coding guidelines for studying value conflicts and coping mechanisms in collaborations. We use them to analyze longitudinal data from a 7-year case study of the Minnesota Urban Partnership Agreement, an interorganizational collaboration in the transportation field. Our research demonstrates that value conflicts in the early phases of a collaboration may relate to its goals and the problem(s) it addresses, while conflicts in later phases of collaboration may focus on process values such as accountability or legitimacy. Our findings indicate that a collaboration may use some coping mechanisms more than others, and that its decision process may affect which coping mechanism(s) it uses to address a value conflict. We conclude with implications for research.”


Knowledge, Emotion, and Power in Social Partnership: A turn to partners’ context,” Organization Studies, ToTran Nguyen and Maddy Janssens

Abstract: “Departing from the social partnership field’s structural, static view of context, this study takes on a situated, emergent view to explore how the partnership process unfolds. Applying ethnomethodologically informed conversation analysis to partners’ meeting talk, we discover that three interactional orders — epistemic, emotional, and deontic rights and obligations — are crucial resources for how partners construct and transform their context. We advance the field by first demonstrating how knowledge, emotion, and power — corresponding to the three orders — are not contextual elements that determine the partnership process but are rather ongoing accomplishments that play a ‘doubly contextual’ role in how the process unfolds; they shape context and are also shaped by it. Second, we expose the precarious interfaces of knowledge, emotion, and power and show that at such interfaces, interactional trouble unfolds processually through partners disattending, superimposing and equivocating certain rights and obligations. We conclude with reflections on what this study means for reimagining social partnerships.”


The Economics of Public-Private Partnerships: Theoretical and Empirical Developments,” ebook edited by Stéphane Saussier and Julie de Brux

Abstract: “This book investigates the economic decisions behind the implementation of public-private partnerships (PPPs). The first part of the book discusses different forms of public procurement contracts, in particular in France and the UK, and provides an economic analysis of the potential advantages and pitfalls of public-private partnerships. This exploration of PPPs’ efficiency also includes an examination of the financing conditions of public procurements, as well as regulatory requirements. By reviewing empirical studies on PPPs, the second part of the book compares their advantages over purely public solutions and offers practical guidance on their implementation. Practitioners will also learn best practices on how to involve stakeholders in calls for bids.”


Connected Urban Growth: Public-Private Collaborations for Transforming Urban Mobility,” Coalition for Urban Transitions, Siemens, World Resources Institute, and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, D. Canales et al.

Abstract: “As new mobility services proliferate, cities will have opportunities to influence their roles so they not only improve convenience for passengers but also create wider economic and environmental benefits for all city residents. One approach, which some 70 cities worldwide have taken, is to form partnerships that allow cities to use the distinctive features of new mobility services to improve their transportation systems overall. Evaluating the possibilities associated with this approach requires an understanding of the development of new mobility services in cities around the world, the partnerships that have been formed to date, and the economic and environmental implications of complementing public transit with new mobility models.


Transforming Coalition Leadership: An Evaluation of a Collaborative Leadership Training Program,” The Foundation Review, Jung Y. Kim, Todd Honeycutt, and Michaella Morzuch

Abstract: “Effective coalitions need leaders who are able to reach beyond individual, group, and sectoral boundaries to advance a shared vision for healthy and thriving communities. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partnered with the Center for Creative Leadership to create a one-year pilot, the Community Coalition Leadership Program, to test a new approach to providing training in collaborative leadership.

This article discusses the program, whether and how it improved participants’ individual and coalition leadership skills, and the implications for foundations and other entities seeking to increase interdependent leadership capacity within community coalitions. This article does not, however, intend to describe progress toward coalition goals or changes in community outcomes, given the short time frame of the evaluation.

A post-program survey found that most coalitions improved on some measures along four dimensions: membership, structure, functioning, and collaboration. Even coalitions that struggled showed improvement along some dimensions, which suggests that the program was a valuable part of a longer-range strategy to build leadership capacity in under-resourced communities.”


Other recently released research on cross-sector collaboration: