Service innovation or collaborative tradition? Public motives for partnerships with third sector organisations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate public partners’ motives for seeking and/or accepting partnerships with third sector organisations.
Design/methodology/approach

The approach is to seek to identify and explain motives from different perspectives; as responses to government failure or voluntary failure, as related to governance structures, and/or as driven by resource dependencies. The empirical material was gathered through semi-structured interviews with public employees in Swedish municipalities. The aim of the interviews was to grasp the public partners’ motives for partnerships with third sector organisations. Each interview started with questions on the presence and forms of partnerships, thus creating a backdrop for the motives, both during the interview and as a map of the partnership landscape.
Findings

The most prominent motives for public engagement in partnerships with third sector organisations are related to democratic values, the need to solve concrete problems, and economic rationality. The motives vary with the type of partnership of which there is considerable variation in scale, content and contribution; the types of partnership vary with different policy fields and services. Different perspectives highlight different motives but none of them excludes other perspectives.
Originality/value

The main contribution of the paper is the empirically based findings of a multi-layered public–third sector partnership landscape where policy fields, forms and complex motives are intertwined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-90
JournalJournal of Accounting and Organizational Change
Volume17
Issue number1
Early online date2020 Oct 26
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration

Keywords

  • Resource dependence
  • Public governance
  • Partnership motives
  • Voluntary failure
  • Public third-sector partnerships

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