Research Briefing, June 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

  • engaging parents and families to improve student outcomes in a cross-sector collaboration,
  • data exchange between private corporations and government statistical offices,
  • NYPD Shield — a public-private partnership dedicated to counterterrorism training and information sharing,
  • how the involvement of multiple companies affects the outcomes of cross-sector social partnerships,
  • employers’ perspectives on their role in cross-sector workforce initiatives,
  • challenges of university-led cross-sector partnerships, and
  • whether countries learn from experience to improve a P3’s probability of success at the national level.

From Family Engagement to Equitable Collaboration,” Educational Policy, Ann M. Ishimaru

Abstract: “Policy makers have long seen parents and families as key levers for improving U.S. student outcomes and success, and new cross-sector collaborative policy and initiatives provide a promising context for innovations in efforts to engage nondominant families in educational equity reform. Drawing on a lens of equitable collaboration, this study examined the strategies in three organizational efforts to improve family engagement in education within a common cross-sector collaboration initiative in a Western region of the United States. Although conventional approaches persisted amid regular exchanges across organizations, we identified more reciprocal, collective, and relational strategies: (a) parent capacity-building, (b) relationship-building, and (c) systemic capacity-building efforts. Despite promising strategies, the dynamics of implementation in the cross-sector collaborative constrained change and mirrored limitations in family engagement practice and policy. The article concludes with next steps for research, practice, and policy in the journey toward more equitable collaboration.”

Access to New Data Sources for Statistics: Business Models and Incentives for the Corporate Sector,” OECD Statistics Working Paper, Thilo Klein and Stefaan Verhulst

Abstract: “New data sources from the private sector have enormous potential to complement and enhance official statistics by, for example, providing more timely data and developing new areas for analysis. The increasing number of research projects using this data underlines its potential. However, progress to operationalize the use of such data sources in the world of official statistics is proving to be slow due, in part, to barriers in gaining access to data from private corporations. Such barriers take the form of concerns on the part of private companies about losing their competitive advantage; legal constraints concerning privacy and confidentiality of client information; and the costs of setting up the necessary infrastructure and training staff for a non-core business related activity. Nonetheless, several business models that enable data exchange between private corporations and official statistics are emerging … Each of these business models, along with their associated risks and technical and governance requirements, are examined in this paper. Incentives for private companies to share their data include the mutual benefits accrued from working with National Statistical Offices (NSOs), the potential to develop new analytical skills, improve their reputations, generate revenue, meet regulatory compliance and demonstrate corporate responsibility. There is growing recognition among many companies — albeit slowly — of these many incentives for making data available for public good.”

Successful Public-private Partnerships: The NYPD Shield Model,” Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning, Vincent Amadeo and Stephen Iannone

Abstract: “This article will identify the challenges that post 9/11 law enforcement faces regarding private public partnerships and describe in detail the NYPD Shield programme, created to combat those challenges. Recommendations made by the 911 Commission included the incorporation of the private sector into future homeland security strategies. One such strategy is NYPD Shield. This programme is a nationally recognized award-winning public-private partnership dedicated to providing counterterrorism training and information sharing with government agencies, non-government organizations, private businesses, and the community. Information is shared through several platforms that include a dedicated website, instruction of counterterrorism training curricula, e-mail alerts, intelligence assessments and the hosting of quarterly conferences. This article also details how the NYPD Shield is providing its successful template to other law enforcement agencies enabling them to initiate similar programmes in their respective jurisdictions, and in doing so joining a National Shield Network.”

Tightrope Walking: Navigating Competition in Multi-company Cross-sector Social Partnerships,” Journal of Business Ethics, Lea Stadtler

Abstract: “Many challenges to economic and social well-being require close collaboration between business, government, and civil-society actors. In this context, the involvement of multiple companies (i.e., business partners) rather than a single company may enhance such cross-sector social partnerships’ (CSSPs) outcomes. However, extant literature cautions about the tensions arising from companies’ competitive interests and the detrimental effects on the CSSP’s social outcome. Similarly, studies analyzing simultaneous collaboration and competition (i.e., coopetition) suggest shielding off competitive elements from the collaboration. Based on insights into two multi-company CSSPs, we conversely find that government and NGO partnership managers deliberately leveraged competition through the CSSP design. They used similar segmentation mechanisms to enhance CSSP contributions, but differed in the way they integrated collaborative and competitive elements, leading to sustained corporate commitment in one CSSP and unmet promises in the other. These insights expose the paradoxical nature of competition at the interface of social and economic goals, and advance current research by indicating competition’s positive effects and the respective partnership design implications. On this basis, our study helps reveal and better understand sustainability-related tensions and opportunities at the inter-organizational level.”

Employer Roles in Building Pipelines for Middle-Skill Jobs in Health Care,” Income and Benefits Policy Center at Urban Institute, Pamela Loprest, Amanda Briggs, and Kelly Mikelson

Excerpt: “Health care is the fastest-growing industry nationally. … These trends suggest health care is a promising sector for initiatives focused on developing a strong pipeline to move lower-skilled workers into middle-skill jobs. Workforce development literature suggests that successfully building pipelines to middle-skill jobs in the healthcare sector requires employer involvement. Over the past decade, health care employers have increasingly engaged in initiatives to build a pipeline. Employers are designing and updating training curricula, providing work-readiness training and internships, hiring workers in entry-level healthcare jobs with the goal of promoting from within, and helping incumbent workers advance by changing internal workforce practices for training, retention, and promotion. Such efforts have often been in partnership with other training, education, or community-based organizations and as part of sector-based industry partnerships. While past research has examined these partnerships and how employers are engaged, this report adds to our understanding by focusing on employers’ perspectives of their role in workforce initiatives to create pipelines to middle-skill jobs.”

Overcoming the Triple Helix Boundaries in an Environmental Research Collaboration,” Science and Public Policy, Joacim Rosenlund, Erik Rosell, and William Hogland

Abstract: Cross-sector interactions between university and other sectors are increasingly important in contemporary knowledge production. However, there are few guidelines for conducting such interactions at the micro-level. The aim of this paper is to provide a better understanding of such triple helix interactions. Throughout a six-year project there were increased demands on the researchers to develop applied results and to interact with other sectors. The researchers were challenged to cross boundaries and share their knowledge with participants outside academia. Results show that difficulties in micro-level triple helix collaboration can be related to three different boundaries. These difficulties emerged due to the different expectations of knowledge and variations in the sector-specific ways of working. Results also hint at solutions in the form of boundary spanners, boundary management and a common arena for dialogue.”

Do Countries Learn from Experience in Infrastructure PPP? PPP Practice and Contract Cancellation,” Policy Research Working Paper Series from The World Bank, Darwin Marcelo Gordillo et. al.

Abstract: “Learning from experience to improve future infrastructure public-private partnerships is a focal issue for policy makers, financiers, implementers, and private sector stakeholders. An extensive body of case studies and ‘lessons learned’ aims to improve the likelihood of success and attempts to avoid future contract failures across sectors and geographies. This paper examines whether countries do, indeed, learn from experience to improve the probability of success of public-private partnerships at the national level. The purview of the paper is not to diagnose learning across all aspects of public-private partnerships globally, but rather to focus on whether experience has an effect on the most extreme cases of public-private partnership contract failure, premature contract cancellation. The analysis utilizes mixed-effects probit regression combined with spline models to test empirically whether general public-private partnership experience has an impact on reducing the chances of contract cancellation for future projects. The results confirm what the market intuitively knows, that is, that public-private partnership experience reduces the likelihood of contract cancellation. But the results also provide a perhaps less intuitive finding: the benefits of learning are typically concentrated in the first few public-private partnership deals. Moreover, the results show that the probability of cancellation varies across sectors and suggests the relative complexity of water public-private partnerships compared with energy and transport projects. An estimated $1.5 billion per year could have been saved with interventions and support to reduce cancellations in less experienced countries (those with fewer than 23 prior public-private partnerships).”

Other recently released research on cross-sector collaboration: