Research Briefing, March 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 evolution of collaborative processes over time,
  • community involvement in collective impact,
  • relationship learning in private-non-profit partnerships,
  • the impact of long-term uncertainty on P3s for infrastructure,
  • and the driving factors behind university-business collaboration.

Investigating Collaborative Processes Over Time: A 10-Year Study of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force,” The American Review of Public Administration, Tanya Heikkila and Andrea K. Gerlak

Abstract: “Collaboration is commonly used to deliver public services that reach beyond the capacities of independent organizations. Much of the literature has been concerned with understanding the types of collaborative processes that are associated with successful collaboration. Yet, few scholars have studied how these design features unfold or evolve over time. We fill this gap through a study of a collaborative environmental management process — the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force — over a 10-year period. Using data coded from the Task Force’s meeting minutes, we examine three key elements of successful collaborative processes in the literature, including internal governance and administration, internal communication, and external communication. To complement our coded data, we also rely on interviews with collaborative participants and contextual information from news media and secondary sources. From our 10-year analysis, we develop propositions about the evolution of collaborative processes, which can provide a foundation for theory development and testing in other cases.”

The Why and How of Working with Communities Through Collective Impact,” Community Development, Jeff Raderstrong and Tynesia Boyea-Robinson

Abstract: “How to better involve community members in collective impact initiatives has been a central question for many collective impact practitioners. This article presents a synthesis of research surrounding the questions of why community members must be more involved in collective impact, and how to better involve them. The synthesis was developed through a literature review, semi-structured interviews, and an online course on the topic marketed toward practitioners. After discussing the need to align community engagement strategies with the goals of a collective impact initiative, the discussion presents two dimensions of community engagement strategies: amplifying the voice of community members within a collective impact initiative, and incorporating that voice into the collective impact initiative using feedback loops. Finally, several strategies are presented showing how collective impact practitioners can grow their capacity in these areas.”

The Importance of Relationship Learning in Private-Non-Profit Partnerships: Precursors and Outcomes,” International Journal of Innovation and Learning, María Jesús Barroso-Méndez, Clementina Galera-Casquet, and Víctor Valero-Amaro

Abstract: “In recent years, there has been growing awareness that the solution of social problems requires the joint action of different actors. In this sense, cross sector social partnerships (CSSPs), particularly, partnerships between businesses and NPO, have become widely adopted by both sectors as mechanisms for working together in order to address complex social issues by combining different rationales but creating value in the collaboration. As a result of it, the majority of the extant literature on private-non-profit partnerships has focused its attention on the discussion of the main determinants that favour collaborative value creation. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is a lack of research analysing some key determinants, as for example, a relationship learning process between the partners. Due to this fact, based on the business-to-business literature, the present study is an attempt to contribute to current knowledge about private-non-profit partnerships by conducting an in-depth analysis of relationship learning.”

How to Design Infrastructure Contracts in a Warming World: A Critical Appraisal of Public-Private Partnerships,” International Economic Review, David Martimort and Stéphane Straub

Abstract: “We analyze how long-term uncertainty, for example, regarding future climate conditions, affects the design of concession contracts and organizational forms in a principal–agent context, with dynamic moral hazard, limited liability, and irreversibility constraints. The prospect of future, uncertain productivity shocks on the returns on the firm’s effort creates an option value of delaying efforts, a course that exacerbates agency costs. Contracts and organizational forms are drafted to control this cost of delegated flexibility. The possibility for the agent to delay investment in response to uncertainty and irreversibility also elicits preference for unbundling different stages of the project through short-term contracts. Our analysis is relevant to infrastructure sectors that are sensitive to changing weather conditions and sheds a pessimistic light on the relevance of public–private partnerships in this context.”

What Drives and Inhibits University-Business Cooperation in Europe? A Comprehensive Assessment,” R&D Management, Victoria Galán-Muros and Carolin Plewa

Abstract: “Knowledge transfer between universities and organizations is essential, not only for the organizations involved but also for the broader innovation system. Understanding the factors that drive or inhibit this process, thus, becomes a priority. Yet, the increasingly prolific academic literature dealing with university-business cooperation (UBC) possesses a strong focus on barriers rather than drivers and only examines few of the cooperation activities that exist in practice. This article offers a comprehensive review and analysis of an extensive set of barriers and drivers across seven UBC activities with a large sample of European academics from 33 countries. Results highlight that while the identified drivers significantly affect the development of all cooperation activities, barriers have more diverse effects. While significantly limiting research and valorization activities, they barely impact cooperation in education. Additionally, results show that even if academics perceive no barriers they still may not cooperate with business if there are no drivers in place. This article concludes by discussing the relevant implications for research, management and policy development regarding UBC, leading to directions for future research.”