Project Management in cross-sector social-oriented partnerships : A comparative study on the formation of partnerships in Romania, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Germany

University essay from Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi; Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi


Cross-sector  social-oriented  partnerships  which  address  social  or  environmental challenges are increasing in practice and in the literature. Although this is expected to continue  in the  future, management responsibilities are  largely unclear  in this type of cross-sector  collaboration.  Project  management  was  found  to  be  a  relevant  area  for investigation  because  cross-sector  collaborations  and  projects  have  similar characteristics and projects are mentioned separately in the two literature fields.  

By joining them in a novel theoretical framework and by collecting empirical data, this thesis aims to explore, describe and analyse the context and use of project management in  the  formation  phase  of  cross-sector  social-oriented  partnerships.  The  study  was undertaken in the belief that project management can be enriched by being researched in collaborative settings and that cross-sector collaborations are interesting to investigate from a managerial perspective. In fact, they offer great potential for knowledge creation and sharing which has been addressed mainly by management research.  

This  thesis  study  was  structured  according  to  three  research  objectives.  Firstly,  we analysed the role of contextual elements in cross-sector social-oriented partnerships by comparing cases in different European country contexts, which were selected based on established criteria. Secondly, we conceptualised the formation phase as  it was  found that  the  literature  lacked  an  overarching  understanding  of  this  phase.  Thirdly,  we identified  management  responsibilities  with  a  focus  on  project  and  knowledge management concepts in the formation of cross-sector social-oriented partnerships.   

We  investigated  both  partners  in  a  multi-method  qualitative  study  to  get  a  holistic understanding  of  the  research  context.  Primary  data  was  collected  in  semi-structured interviews and supplemented with secondary data. The data was analysed on two levels which allowed for the triangulation of findings. Given the mainly inductive approach, template  analysis  was  deployed  allowing  for  flexibility  to  take  account  of  emerging aspects.  

The  empirical  data  shows  that  project  management  is  deployed  differently  in  the formation  of  cross-sector  social-oriented  partnerships,  depending  on  contextual elements  and  the  intention  with  which  they  were  formed.  This  is  reflected  in  the interaction of partners, the level of trust between them, the way knowledge is shared and ultimately in the level of formality in which project management is deployed. In light of the generated findings, the extension of a collaboration continuum from the literature is proposed  by  integrating  project  management  as  a  parameter.  The  findings  and  this proposition have implications on practitioners and for further research in the field.

  AT THIS PAGE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE ESSAY. (follow the link to the next page)