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Ten Notable Resources for Identifying When and How to Collaborate

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By The Intersector Project
November 20, 2017

To help users find essential, quality resources from our Resource Library, The Intersector Project creates curated lists on a variety of topics, bringing important practitioner- and academic-oriented work to the forefront.

Here we present resources on diagnosing opportunities for cross-sector collaboration – tools, reports and scholarly articles to help leaders assess whether cross-sector collaboration is needed, which form of collaboration is best suited for their aims, whether partners have the capacity to act collaboratively and more.

View all our curated lists here.

“The first part [of this tool] helps communities determine whether or not a collaborative arrangement is a good idea. … The second part helps those that want to pursue a collaborative arrangement (as determined by part one) choose from among five fundamental types of collaborative arrangements.”

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This article asks, “Why might a provider decide to reallocate effort away from independent service provision toward collaboration in service provision?” The authors argue that “careful consideration of these incentives, framed by theory, can help sponsors of collaboration to avoid choosing governance mechanisms that are likely to fail.”

This report “describes why public sector organizations should consider partnerships with non-profit or private sector entities, and presents a detailed checklist that public sector executives can use to assess the costs and benefits of such partnerships.”

“Ideally suited for organizations less than three years old, this assessment should nevertheless assist any collaborative that: 1) has just begun planning, or is in the early stages of rolling out its operations; 2) may be facing some challenges; or 3) is willing to revisit basic principles to ensure that it is maximizing its chances for success.”

This article argues “that organizational characteristics, motives, and the history of interactions indicate transformative capacity, transformative intention, and transformative experience, respectively. Together, these three factors consist of a framework that aids early detection of unnecessary partnering efforts and provide[s] indicators of partners’ transformative potential.”

“This report takes a macro-level view of the MSI [multi-stakeholder initiative] landscape to date, focusing on the initiation through start-up phases of an MSI’s lifecycle [and asks]: When is an MSI the best-suited solution to address a global development problem, and what can an MSI do in its early days to be most effective?”

“This paper focuses specifically on the role of public managers as leaders, encouragers, and followers of collaborative governance. [The authors] examine the decision calculus factoring into the choice of collaborative governance as a toolbox for achieving desired policy goals, [asking] why public managers choose to devote public resources to collaborative governance.”

“This article provides a perspective to highlight important factors local officials should bear in mind in deciding which services might benefit from … collaborations, as well as which form of collaboration might be most likely to help a community achieve its goals.”

This guide “is structured into separate sections that focus on three main areas, firstly what are PPPs, when might they be used, and the advantages and disadvantages relative to public provision; secondly the policy, legal, and institutional frameworks that should be put into place to help improve their effectiveness; and finally the ways in which PPP projects can be developed and implemented.”

“The aim of this booklet is to enhance the rationality of the early stages of the partnership formation process: (1) define the motivations of a partnership … (2) specify the various steps in the formation process, and (3) list important factors that play a role in each of these steps. The prime audience for this booklet are practitioners who should find pointers, factors, and tips to take into account either before considering a partnership or when confronted with problems and barriers.”


Author: The Intersector Project is a non-profit organization that empowers practitioners in the business, government, and non-profit sectors to collaborate to solve problems that cannot be solved by one sector alone. We create accessible, credible, and practically valuable resources that are publicly available in full through our website. Visit us at intersector.com.

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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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