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Successful joint venture partnerships: public-private partnerships Sue Trafford
Liverpool City Council, Liverpool, UK, and
Chester Business School, Chester University, Chester, UK
Purpose – Seeks to examine important characteristics that go hand-in-hand with successful public-private partnerships. Design/methodology/approach – A grounded theory approach is adopted involving interviews and group discussions with executives of the organisations involved. The rationale behind the reduction of the data collected was based on the commonalty of the words, themes and concepts being produced by the respondents through the written and oral research data. Findings – A descriptive model is presented which identiﬁes ﬁve key characteristics: good communication, openness, effective planning, ethos and direction. It is argued that all contribute to the success of a joint venture. Research limitations/implications – Further research might examine other examples of public-private partnerships since the research reported here comprises only a single case study – the major limitation of this research. While utilising the ﬁndings of this research may improve the chances of a successful venture, they cannot of their own accord guarantee success since other factors are at play. Originality/value – The paper presents a valuable insight for both academics and practitioners who are keen to appreciate executives’ concerns that can arise in evolving a joint venture between a public and a private sector organisation. Keywords Partnership, Joint ventures, Public sector organizations, Private sector organizations, Communication, Project planning Paper type Research paper
Introduction Collaboration between different organisations enables them to compensate for gaps in their knowledge and capacity to provide goods or services (Walker and Johannes, 2003). These collaborative efforts can take the form of partnerships, alliances and joint ventures. In a public service context, a partnership is “a relationship involving the sharing of power, work, support and/or information with others for the achievement of joint goals and/or mutual beneﬁts” (Kernaghan, 1993). Partnership requires a degree of sharing of key aspects of work activity with others and emphasises joint goals and/or mutual beneﬁts. Moreover, organisations, either individually or as partners, may become part of networks of organisations working together to promote the interests of all members of the collaborative effort. Not long ago it was usual for public services to be delivered with bureaucratic co-ordination. While seemingly efﬁcient, the organisations delivering the services often possessed poor communication and co-ordination, and this in turn produced
International Journal of Public Sector Management Vol. 19 No. 2, 2006 pp. 117-129 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0951-3558 DOI 10.1108/09513550610650392
compartmentalised approaches to dealing with problems. In recent years, recognition of the limitations of bureaucracy has resulted in an emphasis on markets and competition in the delivery of public services. Large bureaucracies have fragmented into networks of specialised agencies contracting for services with a variety of public, private and voluntary providers. Partnership arrangements between the public and private sectors illustrate how the traditional role of the government as an employer and service provider is being transformed (Cm 4310, 1999; Institute for Public Policy Research, 2001; Lowndes and Skelcher, 1998; Kelly, 2000; Robinson et al., 2000). The idea is that “boundary-less”, or “network” organisations strengthen opportunities for innovation through closer collaboration and also reduce costs through the mutual achievement of business objectives based on...
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