Making partnerships work Discussion paper, May 2012

Multi-stakeholder partnering is the ‘new mantra’ of decision-makers in business, politics and civil society. Yet our understanding of what drives success and failure in these institutions remains incomplete.

This paper introduces a production theory which describes how contributions to a partnership translate into results. It shows that technology and ownership are important determinants of the complex dynamics in partnerships: technology matters because it defines the actors’ individual returns on partnering; ownership matters because overall investment level and distribution of contributions influence the partners’ incentives to collaborate or defect.

Across four technology dimensions – input relations, total scale effects, total factor productivity and relative factor productivity – the paper makes propositions on how technology, leadership and governance should be aligned to make partnerships work.

Keywords:
multi-stakeholder partnership, production theory, collaboration technology, governance, leadership

Cite as:
Buckup, Sebastian. 2012. “Making Partnerships Work: a Production Theory of Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration.” 3rd International Symposium on Cross Sector Social Interactions 24-25 May 2012, University of Erasmus, Rotterdam: 1–38.