Intersector Reads 2015

blogimage_booksAs the New Year draws closer, we’re reflecting on a great year of intersector reads that examine the process of designing, implementing, evaluating, and troubleshooting multi-sector solutions to some of the most complex public challenges we face today. These books are targeted toward a variety of readers — researchers, practitioners, and students interested in business, government, and non-profit collaboration — and they tackle a range of topics from collaborative management of natural resources to cross-sector solutions to human trafficking. Here’s our list, along with publishers’ summaries, of the most valuable books on cross-sector collaboration published in 2015.

Collaborative Governance Regimes, Kirk Emerson and Tina Nabatchi (Georgetown University Press)

“Whether the goal is building a local park or developing disaster response models, collaborative governance is changing the way public agencies at the local, regional, and national levels are working with each other and with key partners in the non-profit and private sectors. …

Collaborative Governance Regimes breaks new conceptual and practical ground by presenting an integrative framework for working across boundaries to solve shared problems, a typology for understanding variations among collaborative governance regimes, and an approach for assessing both process and productivity performance. This book draws on diverse literatures and uses rich case illustrations to inform scholars and practitioners about collaborative governance regimes and to provide guidance for designing, managing, and studying such endeavors in the future.

Collaborative Governance Regimes will be of special interest to scholars and researchers in public administration, public policy, and political science who want a framework for theory building, yet the book is also accessible enough for students and practitioners.”

Collaborating Against Human Trafficking: Cross-sector Challenges and Practices, Kristen Foot (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers)

“In the fight against human trafficking, cross-sector collaboration is vital — but often, systemic tensions undermine the effectiveness of these alliances. Kirsten Foot explores the most potent sources of such difficulties, offering insights and tools that leaders in every sector can use to re-think the power dynamics of partnering.

Weaving together perspectives from many sectors … Foot assesses how differences in social location (financial well-being, race, gender, etc.) and sector-based values contribute to interpersonal, inter-organizational, and cross-sector challenges. She convincingly demonstrates that finding constructive paths through such multi-level tensions — by employing a mix of shared leadership, strategic planning, and particular practices of communication and organization — can in turn facilitate more robust and sustainable collaborative efforts.”

Beyond Consensus: Improving Collaborative Planning and Management, Richard Margerum, MIT Press

“In Beyond Consensus, Richard Margerum examines the full range of collaborative enterprises in natural resource management, urban planning, and environmental policy. He explains the pros and cons of collaborative approaches, develops methods to test their effectiveness, and identifies ways to improve their implementation and results. Drawing on extensive case studies of collaborations in the United States and Australia, Margerum shows that collaboration is not just about developing a strategy but also about creating and sustaining arrangements that can support collaborative implementation.

Margerum outlines a typology of collaborative efforts and a typology of networks to support implementation. He uses these typologies to explain the factors that are likely to make collaborations successful and examines the implications for participants. The rich case studies in Beyond Consensus—which range from watershed management to transportation planning, and include both successes and failures—offer lessons in collaboration that make the book ideal for classroom use. It is also designed to help practitioners evaluate and improve collaborative efforts at any phase. The book’s theoretical framework provides scholars with a means to assess the effectiveness of collaborations and explain their ability to achieve results.”

Partnership Governance in Public Management: A Public Solutions Handbook, Seth A. Grossman and Marc Holzer (Routledge)

“The ability to create and sustain partnerships is a skill and a strategic capacity that utilizes the strengths and offsets the weaknesses of each actor. Partnerships between the public and private sectors allow each to enjoy the benefits of the other: the public sector benefits from increased entrepreneurship and the private sector utilizes public authority and processes to achieve economic and community revitalization. Partnership Governance in Public Management describes what partnership is in the public sector, as well as how it is managed, measured, and evaluated. Both a theoretical and practical text, this book is a what, why, and how examination of a key function of public management.

Examining governing capacity, community building, downtown revitalization, and partnership governance through the lens of formalized public-private partnerships – specifically, how these partnerships are understood and sustained in our society – this book is essential reading for students and practitioners with an interest in partnership governance and public administration and management more broadly.”

Governance Networks in the Public Sector, Erik Hans Klijn and Joop Koppenjan (Routledge)

“Public, private, and non-profit organizations are increasingly faced with complex, wicked problems when making decisions, developing policies, or delivering services in the public sector. These activities take place in networks of interdependent actors guided by diverging and sometimes conflicting perceptions and strategies. As a result these networks are dominated by cognitive, strategic and institutional complexities. Dealing with these complexities requires sophisticated forms of coordination: network governance. This book presents the most recent theoretical and empirical insights into governance networks. It provides a conceptual framework and analytical tools to study the complexities involved in handling wicked problems in governance networks in the public sector. The book also discusses strategies and management recommendations for governments, business, and third sector organisations operating in and governing networks.Governance Networks in the Public Sector is an essential text for advanced students of public management, public administration, public policy and political science, and for public managers and policymakers.”

Advancing Collaborative Theory: Models, Typologies, and Evidence, John C. Morris and Katrina Miller-Stevens (Routledge)

“The term collaboration is widely used but not clearly understood or operationalized. However, collaboration is playing an increasingly important role between and across public, non-profit, and for-profit sectors. Collaboration has become a hallmark in both intragovernmental and intergovernmental relationships. As collaboration scholarship rapidly emerges, it diverges into several directions, resulting in confusion about what collaboration is and what it can be used to accomplish. This book provides much needed insight into existing ideas and theories of collaboration, advancing a revised theoretical model and accompanying typologies that further our understanding of collaborative processes within the public sector.

Organized into three parts, each chapter presents a different theoretical approach to public problems, valuing the collective insights that result from honoring many individual perspectives. Case studies in collaboration, split across three levels of government, offer additional perspectives on unanswered questions in the literature. …  Advancing Collaboration Theory offers a unique compilation of collaborative models and typologies that enhance the existing understanding of public sector collaboration.”