The organisational structuring of cross sector partnerships : an empirical examination of two cross sector partnerships in the Humber region, UK

Bachev, Petar

Business
October 2018

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2018 Petar Bachev. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

The last couple of decades have marked an increasing interest in what are now widely called cross sector partnerships (CSPs) between businesses, governments and not-for-profits. The extant literature generally refers to these partnerships as mechanisms for addressing social and environmental challenges. Indeed, CSPs are often depicted as ‘instruments’ that help societies fight various societal problems such as poverty, pollution, and homelessness.

The existing literature offers a variety of explanations on what motivates and shapes the dynamics of CSPs. In this respect, the main goal is to categorise the specific factors that shape the scope and nature of CSPs. Yet, despite the valuable insights which the existing body of knowledge provides, little is still known about the relational processual emergence of CSPs; in particular, their relational interconnectedness within the wider organisational practices of the partnering organisations. As such, there is an urgent need to develop more processual understandings of the becoming nature of CSPs as social processes.

In this regard, the following study sets out to develop a specific process approach, based on what is widely known as process thinking, in order to build a more dynamic understanding of the emergence of CSPs. To this end, the study draws on key process thinking concepts and deploys a theoretical framework to guide the research process. Accordingly, the study also develops a specific qualitative process-based research methodology which helps identify and explore the bundles of ongoing processes that construct and sustain CSP workings over time. The empirical material for the study was generated through semi-structured interviews and secondary sources. Both well-established as well as specifically developed analytical techniques were applied to construct the key themes of the research outcomes.

The outcomes of the analysis attempt to shed light on the relational social dynamics that shape the emergence of CSPs. Furthermore, the findings also reflect upon the power dynamics in CSP workings and reveal how various narratives seek to legitimise or de-legitimise particular CSP activities.

The study, thus, contributes to both theory and practice of CSPs by providing insights into the complex, dynamic and non-linear social complexities characterising the emergence of CSPs. Theoretically, it provides a different understanding from the mainstream conceptualisations of CSPs. At a practical level, the thesis provides rich insights into the unexpected events and contextual dynamics which influence the organisation and management of CSPs, thus offering valuable guidance for practitioners. In short, the overall main contribution of the thesis lies in its processually-informed empirical analysis of CSPs which not only invites us to explore the social dynamic emergence of CSP processes but also asks us to acknowledge the degree of novelty inherent in these processes.

Publisher
Business School, The University of Hull
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
2 MB
Identifier
hull:16886
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