Theorising collaboration practice

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    304 Citations (Scopus)


    This article provides an overview of the theory of collaborative advantage. This is a practice-oriented theory concerned with enhancing practical understanding of the management isssues involved in joint working across organizations. Two contrasting concepts are central to it: collaborative advantage which is concerned with the potential for synergy from working collaboratively; and, collaborative inertia which relates to the often disappointing output in reality. The theory is structured as a set of overlapping themes, which are predominantly issues that practitioners see as causing pain and reward in collaborative situations. Five example themes are discussed: common aims; power; trust; membership structures; and, leadership. It is argued that the theory captures the complexity that underlies collaborative situations and conveys it in a way that seems real to those involved. It aims to empower those involved through legitimising experienced frustration and providing conceptual handles to help address the practical issues involved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)401-423
    Number of pages22
    JournalPublic Management Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • collaborative management
    • organisational theory
    • management theory
    • action research
    • leadership


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