Research Briefing, August 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:

  • collaborative local health care networks,
  • maintaining government-non-profit collaborations,
  • managing tensions in firm–NPO partnerships,
  • partner selection in social entrepreneurship collectives, and
  • collaborative learning processes in funder-grantee partnerships.

Building Health Communities: Local Health Care Networks in Maryland,” The American Review of Public Administration, Aaron Wachhaus

Abstract: “Combating chronic disease (prevention and treatment of obesity, diabetes, heart health, and stroke) requires action at the local level, both to educate the public and to provide health services. Effective collaboration among local organizations devoted to educating the public about, and treating patients of, these diseases is a key component of successful health care. To better understand local efforts, a social network analysis of five local health care networks spanning eight counties in Maryland was conducted. The purpose of this exploratory research was to discover whether collaborative networks exist at the local level, to map the networks, and to assess their strengths and needs.

Stay or Exit: Why Do Nonprofits Maintain Collaborations With Government?,” The American Review of Public Administration, Shuyang Peng, Yuguo Liao, and Jiahuan Lu

Abstract: “Although the public-management literature has demonstrated a growing interest in public–nonprofit collaborations, it pays little attention to the sustainability of collaborations. This study proposes that nonprofits’ intentions to maintain collaborations with government are influenced by both instrumental and relational factors. Using a national sample of human service nonprofits, this study demonstrates that both nonprofits’ continuance commitment and affective commitment play a role in shaping their intentions to maintain collaborative relationships with government. Specifically, continuance commitment is driven by the presence of a formal agreement and the dependence on government funding, and affective commitment is shaped by distributive and procedural justice. The findings have implications for public managers to effectively manage their collaborations with nonprofits.”

Managing Tensions and Divergent Institutional Logics in Firm–NPO Partnerships,” Journal of Business Ethics, Alireza Ahmadsimab and Imran Chowdhury

Abstract: “This paper investigates the process through which firms and non-profit organizations (NPOs) reconcile divergent worldviews in the development of firm–NPO partnerships. Drawing on data from two long-lived firm–NPO partnerships, this study suggests that the dynamics of reconciliation in situations of institutional complexity can be better understood by examining how firms and NPOs manage the interplay of both market and social logics in an inter-organizational context. We have found that during the initial stages of collaboration, partners manage differences by engaging in joint pilot projects and by demonstrating management’s commitment to the partnerships. Subsequently, after firms and NPOs sign a formal partnership agreement, they seek to maintain a sustainable mode of interaction by adopting three distinct mechanisms for managing tensions arising from the partnership: negotiating activity scope, monitoring and learning, and modifying organizational practices. Our research findings contribute to the literature on cross-sector partnership and institutional complexity by highlighting the means by which organizations reduce tensions associated with divergent institutional logics and maintain successful partnerships.

Partner Selection in Social Entrepreneurship Collectives: How Team Selection Control Can Enhance Satisfaction in Cross-Sector Social Partnerships,” Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, Melissa L. Intindola, Thomas G. Pittz, Sean Edmund Rogers, and Judith Y. Weisinger

Abstract: “Cross-sector social partnerships (CSSPs) represent a unique form of collective social entrepreneurship. This research explores team selection control — the ability of an entrepreneurial social collective to provide input into the selection of team members — as an important antecedent of team and job satisfaction. Additionally, this study considers the role of justice in moderating these relationships. The role of team selection control was tested in a sample of cross-sector social partnerships spanning all three economic sectors and divergent social objectives. Primary study results indicate that team selection control is important to individuals participating in CSSPs and that perceived levels of justice can moderate the relationships between team selection control and job and team satisfaction. The implications for scholars and practitioners are discussed.”

Learning About Neighborhood Change Through Funder-Grantee Collaboration,” The Foundation Review, Debra Dahab, Brooke Finn, Lois Greco, and Nancy Kopf

Abstract: “NeighborWorks America and the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation support change in communities through a rigorous and structured collaborative learning framework that places the resident voice and experience at the center of learning. Both funders regularly engage in collaborative learning processes with their grantees and partners to support local revitalization practices and inform program and grantmaking strategies.

This article examines the key ingredients and processes needed to develop and sustain collaborative learning among grantee organizations, community residents, and other stakeholders and funding partners, as well as the critical role played by technical assistance providers.

The authors reflect on their experience with a range of collaborative learning processes and examine the nexus between grantee and funder interests, where the iterative and shared process can result in long-term change. Examples of organizations of varying size and capacity illustrate grantee and funder perspectives in the collaborative learning process, and how the results are being used to advance solutions to local issues and shift program and funding strategies.”