Research Briefing, June 2016

blogimage_researchbriefingEach month, there is new, fascinating research emerging that provides practical insight into the intersector — the space where collaboration among government, business, and non-profit sectors enables leaders to share expertise, resources, and authority to address society’s most pressing problems. To keep our readers up to date, we compile a monthly briefing that captures the newest research, 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:

  • the role of public managers in leading and encouraging collaborative governance,
  • tax increment financing,
  • collaborative emergency management networks,
  • corporate philanthropy in public education,
  • the impact of cross-sector partnerships,
  • social work-business partnerships for economic development,
  • and business-non-profit partnerships.

Unpacking the Collaborative Toolbox: Why and When Do Public Managers Choose Collaborative Governance Strategies?,” Policy Studies Journal, Tyler Scott and Craig Thomas

Abstract: “The public policy and public management literatures together support a vibrant discussion of collaborative governance. Much of this scholarship takes a broad perspective focusing on questions such as what collaborative governance is; why collaborative governance emerges; or why individuals and organizations choose to participate in voluntary, nonbinding collaborative efforts. This paper focuses specifically on the role of public managers as leaders, encouragers, and followers of collaborative governance. We examine the decision calculus factoring into the choice of collaborative governance as a toolbox for achieving desired policy goals. That is, we ask why public managers choose to devote public resources to collaborative governance. What motivates public managers to pick up the phone, write a check, or otherwise change their current behavior? We develop 20 propositions that contextualize this choice in terms of two overarching questions: (i) How do institutional structure and organizational strategy intersect to influence the ways in which public managers design and implement collaborative governance?; and (ii) Why do public managers choose particular roles within collaborative institutions? In doing so, we demonstrate how the public policy and public management literatures can be coupled to better understand a theoretical issue that each research body struggles to encapsulate in isolation.”

Assessing the Contributions of Collaborators in Public–Private Partnerships: Evidence From Tax Increment Financing,” The American Review of Public Administration, Robert Bland and Michael Overton

Abstract: “Partnerships that bring together public, private, and non-profit organizations have become widely used by local governments. But we lack knowledge about the distinct contributions of collaborators to the partnership. This study uses tax increment financing (TIF) in Dallas, Texas, to assess the distinctive roles of public and private partners in achieving mutually beneficial policy outcomes. We find that, while public investment is essential to the partnership’s success, private investment directly increases property values. The city’s greatest contribution is to leverage private investment to create added taxable value in the TIF district. The increased property value provides revenue that is used for public purposes benefiting TIF district occupants. As with other quasi­private institutions that have gained popularity in the new order of governance, the appeal of TIF is its capacity to create public goods with bounded benefits. In addition, both institutional and operational knowledge contribute to the partnership’s success. The city’s experience at establishing new TIF districts and administering existing ones increases taxable value.”

Understanding Multiplexity of Collaborative Emergency Management Networks,” The American Review of Public Administration, Naim Kapucu and Qian Hu

Abstract: “This article explores the multiplex relationships among organizations within the context of emergency management. It examines the role of friendship networks and disaster preparedness networks in predicting sustainable collaborative disaster response networks. Furthermore, it examines the impact of emergency management systems on network building and sustainability. This article applies inferential network analysis methods in analyzing relationships among emergency management networks and examines the predictive power of preestablished network arrangements. This research suggests that friendship networks are important for encouraging organizations to be involved in disaster preparedness networks. Yet it is the collaboration ties during disaster preparedness that influence the formation of collaborations during disaster response. Structural attributes of emergency management systems have impacts on the development of multiplex relationships among organizations within various networks. These findings not only contribute to developing sustainable emergency management networks but also provide insights for building collaborative networks in a broader context.”

Courting Corporate Philanthropy in Public Education Multi-­Disciplinary Literature Review of Public–Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Urban Public Schooling,” Sage Open, Alex M. Gurn

Abstract: “The last few decades have been ones of complexity and contradiction. Long-­term socio­economic restructuring has produced deep and growing wealth disparities, leveling great constraints on urban public schools that must confront the social and educational repercussions of chronic poverty. Long-­standing political austerity, coupled with fallout from the great recession, has rendered private/corporate sector solutions to public problems increasingly expedient. Corporations have aggressively encroached into the gaps in provisions to public education, addressing problems that hyper­-concentrated wealth has helped to engender. This literature review examines ideological debates surrounding one aspect of this shifting landscape: corporate philanthropic partnerships in education. Exploring research from education and business, this article rethinks the underlying assumptions, motivations, and implications of two bodies of literature and wider discourses that take counter-­related positions on the role of corporate social participation: (a) public–private partnerships (PPPs) as manna and (b) PPPs as privatizations in education.

Enhancing the Impact of Cross­-Sector Partnerships: Four Impact Loops for Channeling Partnership Studies,” Journal of Business Ethics, Rob van Tulder, M. May Seitanidi, Andrew Crane, and Stephen Brammer

Abstract: “This paper addresses the topic of this special symposium issue: how to enhance the impact of cross­-sector partnerships. The paper takes stock of two related discussions: the discourse in cross-­sector partnership research on how to assess impact and the discourse in impact assessment research on how to deal with more complex organizations and projects. We argue that there is growing need and recognition for cross-­fertilization between the two areas. Cross­-sector partnerships are reaching a paradigmatic status in society, but both research and practice need more thorough evidence of their impacts and of the conditions under which these impacts can be enhanced. This paper develops a framework that should enable a constructive interchange between the two research areas, while also framing existing research into more precise categories that can lead to knowledge accumulation. We address the preconditions for such a framework and discuss how the constituent parts of this framework interact. We distinguish four different pathways or impact loops that refer to four distinct orders of impact. The paper concludes by applying these insights to the four papers included in this special issue.”

Social Work–Business Sector Collaboration in Pursuit of Economic Justice,” Social Work, Wonhyung Lee

Abstract: “This article examines social workers’ perceptions, experiences, and prospects regarding working in the business sector after participating in an MSW field practicum with a local microlending program. Social workers’ insights suggest that cross-sector collaboration leads to vast opportunities not only for the populations served by the collaborative efforts, but also for social work as a profession. However, several challenges are revealed, including social workers’ unfamiliarity with business operations, the business sector’s narrow understanding of social workers’ roles, and divisions between participants in interprofessional collaboration. This article calls for enhancing the role of social work to maximize its impact on economic development through further research and tangible cross-sector projects.”

A Nonprofit Perspective on Business–Nonprofit Partnerships: Extending the Symbiotic Sustainability Model,” Business & Society, Michelle Shumate, Yuli Patrick Hsieh, and Amy O’Connor

Abstract: “Using the symbiotic sustainability model as a framework, this research investigates how many and with which businesses top nonprofit organizations report partnerships. We examined the websites of the 122 largest, most recognizable U.S. nonprofits. These websites included information about 2,418 business–nonprofit (B2N) partnerships with 1,707 unique businesses. The results suggest key differences with previous research on how U.S. Fortune 500 companies report B2N partnerships. Leading nonprofits report more B2N partnerships than U.S. Fortune 500 companies do. Furthermore, nonprofits do not maintain industry exclusivity in reporting B2N partnerships, like their business counterparts do. Finally, social issue industries do not exert the same isomorphic pressures on B2N partnerships that economic industries do. New propositions that extend the symbiotic sustainability model are presented to account for nonprofits’ unique goals for capital accumulation in B2N partnering and the industry characteristics.”