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Enablers and Inhibitors to collaborating and organizational partnership in the UK voluntary and community sector: a longitudinal case study

Roser, Thorsten (2012) Enablers and Inhibitors to collaborating and organizational partnership in the UK voluntary and community sector: a longitudinal case study. MPhil thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis is an attempt to help us better understand the dynamics of partnership, as well as how internal and external group factors may enable or inhibit project success and collaborating in the context of Public Sector Reform. The study compares theoretical concepts and frameworks with findings from the project case in order to draw implications for both theory and practice. The research makes a contribution to the managerial literature, as well as the literature in Organizational and Social Psychology, whilst proposing a new framework for the relationship between project and group dynamics in the context of project-based organizing. This is important to help us better understand the dynamics of partnership and organization making via project-based consortia. Based on a longitudinal case study the research follows a Partnership Project of seven organizations in the UK Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) seeking to explore new ways of working together in order to adapt to a turbulent and changing environment. This sector is undergoing reforms, which aim to make charities more efficient and effective, through the introduction of new policies and grant funding schemes that change the way funding is made available. These changes aim to trigger collaborative working and shared service development. Whilst initially successful in their collective effort the Partnership Project, however, has evolved differently than anticipated by the partners, with main objectives not being met. After reviewing both economic and social strands in the organizational literature relating to organizational partnership and collaborating, the research utilizes multiple data streams to identify both social and economic factors that have enabled or inhibited partnership and collaborating in this particular project. The results are largely consistent with partnering issues discussed in the organizational literature, i.e. key issues discussed in the organizational literature are also active and important in the sample investigated. A key finding, however, is that group dynamics and project performance cycles are considerably influenced by when partners join or leave the project consortium. Further, that whilst economic affordances may trigger partnership and collaborating, social factors, such as common goals, joint intentionality and social identity play a more important role in keeping partnerships alive. The study shows that social and economic enablers and inhibitors are interrelated and important to enable partnership and collaborating at different levels: contextual dynamics, project dynamics, group dynamics and sense-making. Ultimately, issues affecting dynamics at one level will impact other levels over time. Further, project and group dynamics are mediated by both social and economic affordances during critical transition points of collaborative ventures. Finally, the research contributes context specific definitions of what partnership and collaborating and similar concepts such as co-creation mean in practice. Further, the thesis contributes improved methodological procedures, as well as a set of new hypotheses to enable future research and case based inquiry within the problem domain. The research also draws practical implications that aim to help us better understand and manage multiparty collaborations in the context of project based organizing.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Additional Information: © 2012 Thorsten Roser
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Sets: Departments > Psychological and Behavioural Science
Supervisor: Lahlou, Saadi

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