The collaboration solution? Factors for collaborative success

Head, Brian W. (2014). The collaboration solution? Factors for collaborative success. In Janine O'Flynn, Deborah Blackman and John Halligan (Ed.), Crossing Boundaries in Public Management and Policy: The international experience (pp. 142-157) Abingdon, Oxon, U.K.: Routledge.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Head, Brian W.
Title of chapter The collaboration solution? Factors for collaborative success
Title of book Crossing Boundaries in Public Management and Policy: The international experience
Place of Publication Abingdon, Oxon, U.K.
Publisher Routledge
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
Open Access Status
Year available 2014
Series Routledge critical studies in public management
ISBN 9780415678247
Editor Janine O'Flynn
Deborah Blackman
John Halligan
Volume number 15
Chapter number 9
Start page 142
End page 157
Total pages 16
Total chapters 17
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Over the last generation there has been a shift in theory and practice towards recognizing that collaboration across boundaries is important for tackling complex problems of government policy making and service delivery (Mandell 2001 ; Edwards 2001; Goldsmith and Eggers 2004). The traditional top-down models of public administration have been modified by more flexible models of partnering, contracting and incentives, often with a greater focus on ' horizontal' models of decentralized coordination. Much of the literature on collaboration of the 1980s and 1990s was concerned with marshalling arguments stating why collaborative approaches could be desirable and useful for reducing tensions and solving problems (Gray 1985, 1989; Gray and Wood 1991; Kamer 1994). The assumption that collaborative methods could resolve a wide range of previously intractable problems led to a normative bias in favour of collaboration, without the support of an empirical scholarship examining the costs and benefits under a wide range of specific conditions. However, recent research has made a more careful examination of the balance of costs and opportunities arising from working across boundaries (Gray et al. 2003; Goldsmith and Eggers 2004; Kamensky and Burlin 2004; O'Fiynn and Wanna 2008).

This chapter considers solutions to cross-boundary dilemmas by re-examining the process factors associated with outcome success. In other words, the chapter assesses the factors that influence collaborative success, taking into account the importance of both process factors (e.g. key actors, govcmance, resources, capacities) and outcome factors (e.g. measurable service improvements, political legitimacy). The wide interest in collaborative approaches arises from the common observation that the combined efforts of multiple organizations addressing an agreed problem can achieve better outcomes than would be possible if they worked in isolation or if they tackled the problem from conflicting positions. Moreover, collaboration might achieve more than other governance approaches, such as traditional bureaucratic regulations and directives. Specifically, it is often suggested (see, for example, Head 2006) that collaboration across boundaries can:
• help to define important complex problems that have eluded past attempts;
• focus energy on the top priorities and set agendas;
• create momentum by bringing together all stakeholders;
• draw on wide expertise and diverse sources of knowledge;
• value the practical experience of those working in the field;
• learn from and further refine effective practice models;
• mobilize potential champions. sponsors, donors and funders;
• help with information-sharing and mentoring.
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Created: Tue, 24 Sep 2013, 16:34:38 EST by Professor Brian Head on behalf of ISSR - Research Groups