Research Briefing, July 2017

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

  • how non-profit contributions to public health networks affect goal achievement,
  • the effects of participant diversity and trust on collaborative governance,
  • non-profit participation in collective impact,
  • partnerships for environmental change,
  • the challenge of multiple institutional logics in hybrid organizations (i.e., institutionalized public-private partnerships),
  • the effects of collaboration on environmental permitting processes, and
  • participative stakeholder innovation in complex multistakeholder settings.

Nonprofit Resource Contribution and Mission Alignment in Interorganizational, Cross-Sector Public Health Networks,” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Carrie L. Chapman and Danielle M. Varda

Abstract: “Given the complexity of today’s social and political dilemmas, a common method of program and policy implementation is surfacing in the form of interorganizational, cross-sector goal-directed networks. This article applies the ‘Core Dimensions of Connectivity’ framework to analyze how the increasing inclusion of nonprofit organizations in public health goal-directed interorganizational networks is associated with goal achievement. Variables related to sector-based resource contributions and mission alignment were analyzed in their relation to outcomes in 177 networks. The findings indicate that significant differences exist across sectors. Compared to public and for-profit organizations, nonprofit organizations bring a greater number and diversity of resources to public health networks, and are perceived by their public and for-profit partners as having the strongest support of the network’s mission. We also find that resource contributions and mission alignment affect outcome achievement. This article discusses practical challenges networks face and informs techniques for effectively managing interorganizational goal-directed networks.”

Diversity, Trust, and Social Learning in Collaborative Governance,” Public Administration Review, Saba Siddiki, Jangmin Kim, and William D. Leach

Abstract: “Scholarship on collaborative governance identifies several structural and procedural factors that consistently influence governance outcomes. A promising next step for collaborative governance research is to explore how these factors interact. Focusing on two dimensions of social learning — relational and cognitive — as outcomes of collaboration, this article examines potential interacting effects of participant diversity and trust. The empirical setting entails 10 collaborative partnerships in the United States that provide advice on marine aquaculture policy. The findings indicate that diversity in beliefs among participants is positively related to relational learning, whereas diversity in participants’ affiliations is negatively related to relational learning, and high trust bolsters the positive effects of belief diversity on both relational and cognitive learning. In addition, high trust dampens the negative effects of affiliation diversity on relational learning. A more nuanced understanding of diversity in collaborative governance has practical implications for the design and facilitation of diverse stakeholder groups.”

Nonprofit participation in collective impact: A comparative case,” Community Development, Katherine R. Cooper

Abstract: “Collective impact represents an increasingly common approach to cross-sector collaboration that relies upon coordinated efforts and shared measurement, yet questions remain as to the role of nonprofits in these partnerships. This case study explores nonprofit participation across two collective impact sites. Findings suggest that nonprofit leaders participate, but the conditions of collective impact partnerships impact their participation. Variations in collective impact conditions limit nonprofit participation as expressed through authority, data and financial resources, and discursive legitimacy.”

Leveraging Partnerships for Environmental Change: The Interplay Between the Partnership Mechanism and the Targeted Stakeholder Group,” Journal of Business Ethics, Lea Stadtler and Haiying Lin

Abstract: “Partnerships can play an important role in addressing environmental concerns and fostering environmental improvement. In this context, we argue that a more elaborate understanding is needed of how partners intend to reach beyond the partnership boundaries and target stakeholders at the firm, industry, supply-chain, or societal levels. As environmental improvement is intertwined with the process of change, we build on the theory of planned change to explain how the focus on selected partnership mechanisms may help partners anticipate and overcome barriers when targeting environmental improvement at these different levels. We test our framework, using a sample of 566 environmental partnerships formed in the USA, and provide rich insights into how partners intend to reach beyond the partnership boundaries. From a practical perspective, these insights may inform corporate managers’ decision to configure environmental partnerships in terms of the target group and suitable partnership mechanism. From a theory perspective, the study helps develop a more systematic understanding of what partners intend to do and when (i.e. on the basis of which mechanism) partnerships may provide benefits in addressing level-specific change barriers. These insights provide a first step in positioning partnerships in the broader context of environmental change and encourage future research to move from the intentions to the actual outcomes.”

‘We are this hybrid’: Members’ search for organizational identity in an institutionalized public–private partnership,” Public Administration, Stefanie C. Reissner

Abstract: “There has been significant scholarly interest in organizational hybridity, the combination of multiple institutional logics in one entity. However, the extant research has mainly studied the implications for organizations and individuals, neglecting the challenges for organizational members as a collective. To mitigate, this article examines how members of a British institutionalized public–private partnership grapple with the question of what their organization may be, highlighting the confusion they are experiencing and their attempts to overcome it. Drawing on the concept of organizational identity (theorized as the outcome of collective sensemaking), the analysis identifies two mechanisms that recursively connect the organization and its members. Relational positioning draws on possible configurations of institutional logics and associated identity resources while discursive framing captures members’ hopes and expectations. The main contribution of this article is a better understanding of collective sensemaking in hybrid organizations in the light of institutional complexity.”

Does collaboration affect the duration of environmental permitting processes?,” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Nicola Ulibarri

Abstract: “While collaborative governance has many benefits for environmental planning and management, those benefits are not politically feasible if they impact on process efficiency. This study assesses collaboration’s effect on the duration of water permitting processes, specifically the United States’ Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s hydropower relicensing process. Collaboration was measured using a survey of participants in 24 recent hydropower relicensing processes. A Cox proportional hazards model with mixed effects assessed the relationship between collaboration, regulatory framework, hydropower facility characteristics, and relicensing process duration. Collaboration was not associated with time to license. Instead, process duration depended on the regulatory framework (especially the switch to the Integrated Licensing Process and presence of endangered species) and facility characteristics (generating capacity and facility type). The results suggest that agencies should consider engaging collaboratively during planning and permitting, given that collaboration’s benefits to decision quality do not incur a cost on overall process time.”

Innovation in Multistakeholder Settings: The Case of a Wicked Issue in Health Care,” Journal of Business Ethics, Edwin Rühli, Sybille Sachs, Ruth Schmitt, and Thomas Schneider

Abstract: In this article, we offer an approach of how participative stakeholder innovation can be evaluated in complex multistakeholder settings that address wicked issues. Based on the principle of mutual value creation, we present an evaluation framework that accounts for the social interaction process during which stakeholders integrate their resources and capabilities to develop innovative products and services. To assess this evaluation framework, we collected multiple data from the case study of the Swiss Cardiovascular Network, which represents a multistakeholder setting related to the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Our findings indicate that the evaluation dimensions of the stakeholders’ mindsets, the process and context of the stakeholder interactions, as well as the outcomes are useful concepts to account for a cooperative process of innovation in a multistakeholder setting. We discuss both the theoretical and practical insights of our analysis for participative stakeholder innovation.”

Other recently released research on cross-sector collaboration: