Research Briefing, November/December 2020

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 about:

  • strategic communication in cross-sector social partnerships,
  • community voice strategies in health collaboratives,
  • cross-sector partnerships to increase social impact, and
  • sustainable public-private partnerships in the water sector.

How to Do CSR with Dialogic Meeting Talk: A Conceptual Framework for Managing Change in Cross-Sector Social Partnerships,” Corporate Social Responsibility, Christa Thomsen

Abstract: “Within the theoretical framework of Cross-Sector Social Partnerships [CSSPs], strategic communication and dialogue and by use of an example drawn from a case study of a CSSP, this article argues that Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] initiatives are best developed in partnership-wide meetings involving relevant stakeholders. Importantly, it proposes a framework for analysis. Following a theoretical discussion of the interconnectedness of CSSPs, strategic communication and dialogue, the article outlines a framework for analysis. It delineates the potential of the framework through an analysis of a partnership-wide dialogue conducted in a local CSSP at a seminar/meeting dealing with the creation of common understanding for a social inclusion project among internal and external stakeholders. The analytical findings support the main argument and the conceptual endeavor by illustrating how common understanding of the need for social inclusion is constructed through a partnership-wide meeting organized as dialogue.

Community Voice in Cross-Sector Alignment: Concepts and Strategies from a Scoping Review of the Health Collaboration Literature,” Georgia Health Policy Center, Aliza Petiwala, Daniel Lanford, Glenn Landers, and Karen Minyard

Background: Health care access is an important driver of population health, and factors beyond health care also drive health outcomes. Recognizing the importance of the social determinants of health (SDOH), different actors in the health care, public health, and social service sectors are increasingly collaborating to improve health outcomes in communities. To support such collaboration, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently developed the cross-sector alignment theory of change. According to the cross-sector alignment theory of change, community voice is critical for helping collaboratives address community health needs. Yet research on health collaboratives offers little guidance on how community voice should be understood, or which community voice strategies are most effective.

Methods: This study addresses a gap in the literature with a systematic scoping review of research on health-oriented collaboration and community voice. By scanning key academic journals, searching three academic databases, and obtaining documents from across our professional networks, we identified 36 documents that address community voice in health collaboratives. The review reveals several concepts of community voice and a range of community voice strategies.

Results: We find that community voice strategies fall into two broad approaches: active and passive. These vary in the level of engagement required from the community and in the level of power shared between communities and collaborators, and this in turn has implications for community health outcomes. We also find that while most strategies are discussed in the context of short-term collaboration, many also lend themselves to adoption in the context of sustainable collaboration and, ultimately, cross-sector alignment.”

Governing in Partnership,” SSIR, Kathleen Kelly Janus

Abstract: “In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, business, philanthropic, and nonprofit organizations have partnered with government in unprecedented ways to support Californians. The state’s recently released Social Innovation Impact Report shows that under Governor Newsom’s leadership, our office has led public-partnerships totaling $3.9 billion in corporate and philanthropic funding, in coordination with $1.3 billion in public funding. We have created far more social impact than we would have by working alone. And while public-private partnerships are not new, California is the first state in the country to lead cross-sector collaborations at such a large scale.

When the public, private, and philanthropic sectors partner, everyone benefits. In California, our partnerships are addressing problems including the state’s homelessness crisis, supporting California’s undocumented immigrants, and ensuring California families don’t go hungry. These partnerships are on the cutting edge of innovation, bringing new solutions to previously intractable problems, and providing models for other states and for the country.

Here are four important takeaways from our work over the past two years that may help other government teams—federal, state, or municipal—looking to lead through partnerships.

Critical Factors to Achieve Sustainability of Public-Private Partnership Projects in the Water Sector: A Stakeholder-Oriented Network Perspective,” Complexity, Nan He, Yijing Li, Huimin Li, Ziqi Liu, and Chengyi Zhang

Abstract: “A key challenge in the management of the public-private partnership project is to understand the critical factors for sustainability performance as well as their complex interaction. Majority of existing studies focus on identifying general factors without consideration of specific context or individual sector. To bridge the gap, unique characteristics of water PPP projects are taken into consideration in this study where the relationship among critical factors to achieve sustainable performance is analyzed from a network perspective. Stakeholder-associated factors and their interrelations were identified via extensive literature review and structured interview, and the social network analysis (SNA) method was employed to recognize the critical factors and their interactions in sustainability achievement of water PPP projects. As a result, seven stakeholder groups and 18 critical factor nodes were identified and further classified into four challenges when achieving sustainability. These challenges are (1) promoting ecological awareness and responsible citizen behaviour; (2) project construction quality; (3) ecological designs and technology innovations; and (4) project management capacity. These findings provide the stakeholders of water PPP projects with useful references for mitigating the risks and facilitating efforts to achieve better sustainability performance.

Other recently released research on cross-sector collaboration: