Research Briefing, May/June 2022

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 bimonthly 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 briefing includes articles and reports about:

  • Exploring the role of organizational motivations in cross-sector watershed collaboration,
  • Conceptualizing cross-sectoral partnership building in two small central Appalachian towns,
  • Public-Private Partnerships and Value for Money, and
  • “Progressive” Public-Private Partnerships.



Why collaborate? Exploring the role of organizational motivations in cross-sector watershed collaboration,” Politics & Policy, Luisa Diaz-Kope, John C. Morris

Abstract: As governments turn to cross-sector collaboration to address complex watershed pollution problems, questions of how to manage collaborative efforts are brought to the fore. Chief among the challenges is how to determine the necessary stakeholders to bring to the table and, concomitantly, how to incentivize organizations from different sectors to work collaboratively in order to address these complex problems. While work has been done to explore individual motivations, little research has been conducted to examine organizational motivations for collaboration. This study explores the motivational determinants that drive local cross-sector watershed collaboration. Key findings of the study identify variations in the level of prevalence in the motivational determinants among organizations from different sectors that partner with the focal organization.


Conceptualizing cross-sectoral partnership building in two small central Appalachian towns,” Community Development Journal, Neda Moayerian, Lara Nagle, Max Stephenson, Jr

Abstract: This article highlights the efforts of two rural communities located in Central Appalachia to address the conflicts and economic and social challenges that have arisen in each as a result of the decline of coal mining. Documenting and analyzing the processes and narratives gleaned from the authors’ long-term interaction with stakeholders in the two communities through field tours, community meetings, individual conversations, and group workshops revealed specific social and economic forces, including neoliberal ideology and the realities of its assumptions and public policies, as key forces shaping current community challenges. This article assesses the effectiveness of cross-sectoral partnerships constructed in both case communities aimed at addressing resource dependence, social legitimation, exchange needs, and strategic collaboration imperatives. We used Meadows’ systems thinking construct to identify the system elements that informed this analysis and to assess the efficacy of cross-sector partnership building in questioning dominant imaginaries and creating novel ways of being within communities undergoing transition from what have otherwise been economically and socially oppressive conditions. We found that stakeholders within the two communities have often struggled to maintain the cross-sectoral partnerships they have sought to create, let alone understand fully the outcomes of any intervention they might launch, despite their best intentions and plans. A lack of continuing communication among relevant stakeholders, limitations to encouraging citizens’ agential activities, and adopting strategies within the assumptions of the dominant neoliberal paradigm were among the main hindrances to realizing effective partnerships in the communities we analyzed.


Public-Private Partnerships and Value for Money,” Public Works Management & Policy, Robson de Faria Silva, Alceu Souza, Fabíola Kaczam, Luciano Luiz Dalazen, Wesley Vieira da Silva, Claudimar Pereira da Veig

Abstract: The implementation of infrastructure projects is one element that drives economic development. When considering the high costs and complexity of these projects, the importance of analysis is highlighted a little more than traditional value for money when such projects are carried out in a public-private partnership. This article examines the state of the art of research on evaluating public-private partnership performance considering evidence of value for money. For this purpose, a systematic literature review was conducted based on the scientific production available in the Scopus and Web of Science databases. The main contributions of this study consist of presenting (1) a set of papers on performance evaluation that considers VfM as a complement to its evaluation systems, comparatively or inclusively in its analyses; (2) a methodological framework; and (3) guidelines for future research. This study provides insights for developing empirical studies in a wide range of contexts or sectors.


“Progressive” Public-Private Partnerships: Are They Reformative or Regressive!?,” Public Works Management & Policy, Carter B. Casady, Michael J. Garvin

Abstract: In North America, public-private partnerships (P3s) are increasingly using pre-development agreements to enhance collaboration between the public and private sectors. Known colloquially as “progressive P3s”, these agreements allow the private sector to help scope and shape the structure of projects at the front end. However, concerns about their efficacy persist. Our Commentary contextualizes this ongoing debate by outlining the potential benefits and pitfalls of this new approach to P3s. We conclude that both practitioners and academics have a crucial role to play in our experience with and understanding of the progressive P3 experiment.