Research Briefing, May 2017

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

  • rural cross-sector collaboration,
  • community-academic partnerships,
  • a public-private partnership to address vaccine hesitancy,
  • innovation in P3 infrastructure project delivery,
  • issues in business-NGO alliances,
  • the discussion of public-private partnership in public administration literature,
  • and how relational coordination affects the creation of social value in public-private collaborations.

Rural Cross-Sector Collaboration: A Social Frontier Analysis,” American Educational Research Journal, Peter M. Miller, Martin K. Scanlan, and Kate Phillippo

Abstract: “Schools throughout the United States apply comprehensive community partnership strategies to address students’ in- and out-of-school needs. Drawing from models like the Harlem Children’s Zone, Promise Neighborhoods, and full-service community schools, such strategies call for diverse professionals to reach beyond their own organizations to collaborate with complementary partners. Extant research on cross-sector collaboration focuses disproportionately on urban settings. This qualitative study examined three years of cross-sector collaboration in “Midvale,” a rural community in the western United States. Applying the conceptual framework of social frontiers, it illuminates how issues of difference, competition, and resource constraint impacted cross-sector collaboration in Midvale’s rural context.”

Evaluating Community-Academic Partnerships of the South Carolina Healthy Brain Research Network,” Health Promotion Practice, Suzan Neda Soltani, Kristie Kannaley, Weizhou Tang, Andrea Gibson, Kate Olscamp, Daniela Friedman, Samira Khan, Julie Houston, Sara Wilcox, Sue Levkoff, and Rebecca Hunter

Abstract: “Community–academic partnerships have a long history of support from public health researchers and practitioners as an effective way to advance research and solutions to issues that are of concern to communities and their citizens. Data on the development and evaluation of partnerships focused on healthy aging and cognitive health were limited. The purpose of this article is to examine how community partners view the benefits and barriers of a community–academic partner group established to support activities of the South Carolina Healthy Brain Research Network (SC-HBRN). The SC-HBRN is part of the national Healthy Brain Research Network, a thematic research network funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is focused on improving the scientific and research translation agenda on cognitive health and healthy aging. Semistructured interviews, conducted at end of Year 2 of the 5-year partnership, were used to collect data from partners of the SC-HBRN. Reported benefits of the partnership were information sharing and networking, reaching a broader audience, and humanizing research. When asked to describe what they perceived as barriers to the collaborative, partners described some lack of clarity regarding goals of the network and opportunities to contribute to the partnership. Study results can guide and strengthen other public health-focused partnerships.”

The Immunity Community A Community Engagement Strategy for Reducing Vaccine Hesitancy,” Health Promotion Practice, Jennie Schoeppe, Allen Cheadle, Mackenzie Melton, Todd Faubion, Creagh Miller, Juno Matthys, and Clarissa Hsu

Abstract: “Parental concerns about vaccine safety have grown in the United States and abroad, resulting in delayed or skipped immunizations (often called ‘vaccine hesitancy’). To address vaccine hesitancy in Washington State, a public–private partnership of health organizations implemented and evaluated a 3-year community intervention, called the ‘Immunity Community.’ The intervention mobilized parents who value immunization and provided them with tools to engage in positive dialogue about immunizations in their communities. The evaluation used qualitative and quantitative methods, including focus groups, interviews, and pre and post online surveys of parents, to assess perceptions about and reactions to the intervention, assess facilitators and barriers to success, and track outcomes including parental knowledge and attitudes. The program successfully engaged parent volunteers to be immunization advocates. Surveys of parents in the intervention communities showed statistically significant improvements in vaccine-related attitudes: The percentage concerned about other parents not vaccinating their children increased from 81.2% to 88.6%, and the percentage reporting themselves as “vaccine-hesitant” decreased from 22.6% to 14.0%. There were not statistically significant changes in parental behaviors. This study demonstrates the promise of using parent advocates as part of a community-based approach to reduce vaccine hesitancy.”

Infrastructure Public–Private Partnerships as Drivers of Innovation? Lessons from Ontario, Canada,” Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, Michael Himmel and Matti Siemiatycki

Abstract: “Public–private partnerships have been widely identified as key drivers of innovation in large public infrastructure projects such as hospitals, courthouses, bridges, highways, and transit lines. Yet to date, there is little empirical evidence documenting how much or what types of innovation are realized through the public–private partnership procurement process. Based on an examination of public–private partnership project delivery in Ontario, Canada over the past decade, this study shows that the innovations realized through the public–private partnership process tend to be a series of design, construction method, and material selection choices primarily aimed at lowering project cost and risk. Conversely, more revolutionary innovations in terms of iconic architecture or substantial rethinking of the approach to public service delivery are not typically achieved through the public–private partnership process. The paper concludes by reflecting on the meaning of innovation in the infrastructure sector, and identifies the specific public–private partnership procurement processes that incentivize cost-saving ingenuities over more transformational innovations.”

Alliances between Firms and Non-profits: A Multiple and Behavioral Agency Approach,” Journal of Management Studies, Miguel Rivera-Santos, Carlos Rufin, and Uli Wassmerni

Abstract: “We analyse business-NGO (B2N) alliances through the lenses of multiple agency and behavioural agency theories to identify the sources of agency problems and the most effective choice of mitigation mechanisms. We contend that three types of agency relationships constitute B2N alliances: the relationship between the firm’s managers and B2N alliance employees; the relationship between the NGO’s managers and the B2N alliance employees; and the novel ‘claimed principal-agent relationship’ involving the external beneficiary, the NGO’s managers and the alliance employees. We argue that B2N alliances’ three types of agency problems stem from (1) the relative emphasis on public vs. private goods, both at the employee and at the partner levels, and (2) the level of the external beneficiary’s voice. We then predict the mechanisms to mitigate these problems: hiring altruistic over self-interested individuals; narrowly specifying the employees’ activities; emphasizing input-based and intrinsic incentive mechanisms; and investing significantly into non-intrusive monitoring mechanisms.”

Public–Private Partnership in Public Administration Discipline: A Literature Review,” Public Management Reivew, Huanming Wang, Wei Xiong, Guangdong Wu, and Dajian Zhu

Abstract: “Public–private partnerships (PPPs) have become popular tools to deliver infrastructure and public services around the world. As an innovative public procurement approach, PPPs have drawn considerable attention from academic circles. In order to enhance our knowledge of PPPs, the authors conducted a systematic literature review of articles published in international journals of the Public Administration (PA) discipline. Four main topics in this discipline are identified by means of social network analysis, including PPP concept, risk sharing amongst PPP participants, the drivers of PPP adoption, and PPP performance. Seven propositions about the four topics are summarized. Directions for future research are also considered.”

Social Value Creation and Relational Coordination of Public-Private Partnerships,” Journal of Management Studies, Nigel Caldwell, Jens Roehrich, and Gerard George

Abstract: “Public-private collaborations, or hybrid organizational forms, are often difficult to organize because of disparate goals, incentives, and management practices. Some of this misalignment is addressed structurally or contractually, but not the management processes and practices. In this study, we examine how the coordination of these social and work relationships, or relational coordination, affects task performance and the creation of social value. We employ a dyadic perspective on two long-term relationships that are part of a wider ecosystem. We illustrate the social value creation process, identifying mutual knowledge and goal alignment, as necessary to create relational coordination. We find that the degree of professional embeddedness moderates the link between coordination and task performance, and explore the role that organizational and ecosystem experiences play. We develop a model of how relational coordination influences social value creation in hybrids. The findings have implications for social value creation, hybrid collaborations, and organizational design.”