Research Briefing, January 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:

  • what makes public-private partnerships work,
  • collaborative governance and policy networks,
  • collaborative data sharing for public good, and
  • partner outcomes in multi-stakeholder cross-sector partnerships.

What Successful Public-Private Partnerships Do,” Harvard Business Review, Elyse Maltin

“The lessons of what makes the best P3 partnerships work apply to any large initiative in which more than one organization is responsible for its success. The word ‘partner’ truly must connote that ‘we’re in this together,’ a sentiment that no contract can ever convey. As a U.S.-based manager on a highly successful P3 infrastructure project put it, ‘Success can be defined as a situation where the project is completed on time and on budget, and with all participants being happy survivors of the experience.’ Project leaders who have an explicit plan of how they will meet the project’s goals and keep the working relationships of all parties strong throughout the process have a much higher likelihood of success.

Convening for Consensus: Simulating Stakeholder Agreement in Collaborative Governance Processes Under Different Network Conditions,” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Tyler A. Scott, Craig W. Thomas, and José Manuel Magallanes

Abstract: “Public policymakers and managers use collaborative governance processes strategically to involve relevant stakeholders in developing plans, designing programs, and implementing policies. Although intuitive and normatively popular, such deliberative processes pose a tension between the prospective benefits of broader involvement (both instrumental benefits such as information and support for implementation and normative benefits related to representation) and the challenges of reaching agreements amongst disparate stakeholders. This paper builds upon empirical studies of complex policy networks to explore what happens when a public official initiates a collaborative governance process within a policy network. We use agent-based modeling (ABM) to simulate the impact of process attributes, such as how many people are involved, how invitees are selected, and the presence of difficult participants, within different network contexts, including network size, policy uncertainty, and preference distributions. This simulation-based approach does not rely upon survey instruments or subjective responses, and thereby complements existing empirical studies of collaborative governance. ABM provides a platform to explore the implications of key network assumptions, test different initiation strategies, model emergent properties resulting from inter-actor deliberation, and simulate long-run outcomes. Our results show how network and system conditions modulate the impact of group convening and design strategies. More generally, we demonstrate how ABM can be used to examine potential collaborative governance outputs under different design choices and network contexts when large data sets are unavailable.”

A Collaborative Governance Approach to Partnerships Addressing Public Problems with Private Data,” Proceedings of the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Iryna Susha, and J. Ramon Gil-Garcia

Abstract: “The recent explosion of data, which is generated, collected, and exchanged, opens up new opportunities and poses new challenges. Actors in different sectors have recently began to explore how they can work together and leverage these data to help address ‘wicked’ problems. A novel form of cross sector partnership emerges, labelled ‘data collaborative’, which is normally focused on accessing private sector data and using it to address complex public problems. While there is emerging knowledge about how data can be shared in such partnerships, less is known about the collaboration dynamics of these partnerships. In this paper, we examine this problem from the perspective of collaborative governance and propose a framework for understanding collaboration around data sharing for public good.

Outcomes to Partners in Multi-Stakeholder Cross-Sector Partnerships: A Resource-Based View,” Business & Society, Amelia Clarke and Adriane MacDonald

Abstract: “The prevalence and complexity of local sustainable development challenges require coordinated action from multiple actors in the business, public, and civil society sectors. Large multi-stakeholder partnerships that build capacity by developing and leveraging the diverse perspectives and resources of partner organizations are becoming an increasingly popular approach to addressing such challenges. Multi-stakeholder partnerships are designed to address and prioritize a social problem, so it can be challenging to define the value proposition to each specific partner. Using a resource-based view, this study examines partner outcomes from the perspective of the strategic interest of the partner as distinct from the strategic goal of the partnership. Based on 47 interviews with representatives of partner organizations in four Canadian case studies of community sustainability plan implementation, this article details 10 resources partners can gain from engaging in a multi-stakeholder partnership.”