Research Briefing, June 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:

  • theories of participation in pro-environmental, collaborative governance networks,
  • cross-sector collaboration for social change to promote population health,
  • public support for contracting-out and public-private partnerships, and
  • the influence of a board of directors on cross-sector nonprofit collaboration.

Comparing Three Theories of Participation in Pro-environmental, Collaborative Governance Networks,” Journal of Environmental Management, J.M. Barrutia and C. Echebarria

Abstract: “While several different theories have been proposed to explain why organizations participate in networks, there is no consensus on which motivations are most important. The aim of this research is to better understand attitudes of participants towards the networks of which they are members. We propose and test a model in the context of pro-environmental, collaborative governance networks. The model is based on three theories (i.e., Resource Dependence, Social Exchange, and Social Identity theories), which are represented by three variables (i.e., network resources, image enhancement and identification, respectively). As expected, the three variables are shown to have explanatory capacity, and interestingly, their co-presence generates synergistic effects. When comparing the relative explanatory power of these variables we find that Social Identity Theory, represented by identification, has the strongest influence on participation attitude in the form of an increasing returns effect. When network participants identify with their pro-environmental networks, a powerful motivational mechanism emerges: participants merge their own personal identity with the identity of the network, and their self-esteem is affected by the achievements of the network. Identification goes a long way in explaining participation attitudes, and deserves a major role in collaborative governance and collective action research.”

The Fundamentals of Cross-sector Collaboration for Social Change to Promote Population Health,” Global Health Promotion, Joanne G. de Montigny, Sylvie Desjardins, and Louise Bouchard

Abstract: “Cross-sector collaboration is increasingly relied upon to tackle society’s pressing and intractable problems. Chief among societal problems are unfavorable structural and social determinants of health. The ability to positively change these health determinants rests on the collaborative processes and structures of governance across diverse sectors in society. The purpose of this article is to present a conceptual framework that sheds light on the basic requirements of cross-sector collaboration for social change to promote the health of populations. A search for theoretical articles on cross-sector collaboration in the fields of public administration and public health was conducted within the journal databases ABI/INFORM Complete and MEDLINE. This search strategy was supplemented by an internet search of the grey literature for high-profile models of cross-sector collaboration. The conceptual framework builds on previous scholarly work by placing emphasis on five essential conditions for collective impact, and on the pivotal role of collective learning. Collective learning, at the basis of planning and taking action, is at the core of effective cross-sector initiatives, specifically because of its critical role in constantly adapting strategies to changing circumstances and unanticipated situations within complex socio-ecological systems.”

Support for Contracting-out and Public-Private Partnership: Exploring Citizens’ Perspectives,” Public Management Review, Hai Guo and Alfred Tat-Kei Ho

Abstract: “Many studies have evaluated the merits and challenges of contracting-out and public-private partnership (PPP). However, few studies have examined citizens’ views of these alternative service-delivery mechanisms and what factors influence their views. Using results from a citizen survey of a mid-sized US city, the present study investigates how consumerism, the citizenry framework, and symbolic institutionalism influence public support for contracting-out and PPP. Our findings show that symbolic institutionalism provides the most significant and consistent explanation of public support for the mechanisms. Implications for public management practices and future research, especially on creating and capturing value through PPP, are discussed.”

How Does a Board of Directors Influence Within- and Cross-Sector Nonprofit Collaboration?,” Nonprofit Management & Leadership, Jennifer Ihm and Michelle Shumate

Abstract: “Board members play a significant, yet largely unexamined, role in nonprofit collaboration. Processes, such as finding prospective partners, creating common ground with a partner, and establishing appropriate collaborative governance implicate nonprofit board members. In contrast to the scholarship of the role of interlocking directorates as potential networks for nonprofit collaboration, this paper examines the role of board members’ social and human capital on nonprofit collaboration with other nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies. Drawing on online survey data from 636 nonprofit organizations, this paper finds that board social capital—but not board human capital—is positively related to the presence and number of within-sector and cross-sector nonprofit collaboration. However, board human capital enhances nonprofit-government collaboration, when board social capital is also high. The results provide a novel perspective in nonprofit collaboration and board management research.”

Other recently released research on cross-sector collaboration: