Research Briefing, April 2019

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 and reports about:

  • contractual governance of cross-sector partnerships by target,
  • public attitudes toward public-private partnerships,
  • public contracting for private innovation,
  • value creation in public-private‐nonprofit interactions, and
  • comparative governance of social issues.

Governance by Targets and the Performance of Cross-sector Partnerships: Do Partner Diversity and Partnership Capabilities Matter?,” Strategic Management Journal, José M. Alonso and Rhys Andrews

Abstract: “This study examines the effectiveness of targets as a tool for the contractual governance of cross-sector partnerships. Applying a difference-in-differences methodology, we find that the use of explicit targets within performance contracts is an effective means for improving partnership outcomes, especially where partner diversity and partnership capabilities are high. Furthermore, we find evidence that target intensity is associated with stronger partnership performance. These findings suggest that contractual forms with explicit targets may be a particularly successful approach for enhancing the public value created by cross-sector partnerships. A downward turn in performance following the removal of targets lends further support to this conclusion.”

Citizen Attitudes Towards Public-Private Partnerships,” American Review of Public Administration, Eric J. Boyer and David M. Van Slyke

Abstract:This study examines the factors that influence public attitudes toward public‐private partnerships (PPPs) through an analysis of public opinion data collected in 2014. Although previous literature has examined public attitudes toward government contracting and asset privatization, there is little understanding of how the public feels about more collaborative forms of public-private interaction. Counter to previous studies that suggest that support for free enterprise and a disdain for government increases support for private involvement in public services, we find that attitudes toward PPPs are nuanced: Respondents favor them not only when they have positive feelings toward the business sector but also when they also report trust in government. PPPs are thus perceived not as a replacement to public administration, but as a delivery model that demands competence and trust of both public and private partners. The results also explain a previously unstudied relationship between respondent familiarity with PPPs and their attitudes toward them. Counter to expectations, we find that the more familiarity that respondents have with PPPs, the more likely they are to view them favorably. We also identify factors that predict public opinions of PPPs which can inform public outreach and public involvement programs involved with PPPs.”

Public Contracting for Private Innovation: Government Capabilities, Decision Rights, and Performance Outcomes,” Strategic Management Journal, Joshua R. Bruce, John M. de Figueiredo, and Brian S. Silverman

Abstract: “We examine how the US Federal Government governs R&D contracts with private-sector firms. The government chooses between two contractual forms: grants and cooperative agreements. The latter provides the government substantially greater discretion over, and monitoring of, project progress. Using novel data on R&D contracts and on the technical expertise available in specific government bureau locations, we test implications from the organizational economics and capabilities literatures. We find that cooperative agreements are more likely to be used for early-stage projects and those for which local government scientific personnel have relevant technical expertise; in turn, cooperative agreements yield greater innovative output as measured by patents, controlling for endogeneity of contract form. The results are consistent with multitask agency and transaction‐cost approaches that emphasize decision rights and monitoring.”

Value Creation and Value Appropriation in Public and Nonprofit Organizations,” Strategic Management Journal, Sandro Cabral et al.

Abstract: “In recent years, strategy scholarship expanded its scope beyond the realm of private firms. Despite notable advances, the field still lacks theoretical and empirical frameworks for fully understanding how public and nonprofit organizations interact with private firms to create and appropriate value. By recognizing the inherent complexity of interactions between organizations with different purposes and the existing challenges for designing effective governance arrangements, we assess how recent scholarship addresses some dilemmas related to both private and public value creation. Based on the extant literature and on some novel aspects raised by the articles in this issue, we also propose a framework to advance strategy research in the field. We emphasize the importance of stakeholder management capabilities among public, private, and nonprofit organizations in pursuit of enhanced public value and continuous support from appreciative stakeholders.”

Private Action in Public Interest: The Comparative Governance of Social Issues,” Strategic Management Journal, Sandro Cabral et al.

Abstract: “We develop a theoretical framework to define the comparatively efficient organizational form for dealing with a social issue, based on the market frictions associated with it. Specifically, we argue that for-profits have an advantage in undertaking innovation and coordinating production economies, nonprofits in playing a fiduciary role given ex post information asymmetry, self-governing collectives in dealing with bounded externalities through private ordering, and state bureaucracies in governing general externalities. We build on these arguments to develop a mapping between combinations of these market frictions and the comparatively efficient arrangements to govern them, including a variety of hybrid arrangements such as private‐public partnerships, social enterprises, corporate social responsibility, and so on. Our framework thus contributes to research in strategy, organizations, and public policy.”