The Tangled Web: Unraveling the Principle of Common Goals in Collaborations

Vangen, Siv and Huxham, Chris (2012). The Tangled Web: Unraveling the Principle of Common Goals in Collaborations. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 22(4) pp. 731–760.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jopart/mur065

Abstract

This article addresses a “goals paradox” that suggests that both congruence and diversity in organizations’ goals influence success in collaboration. Using extensive empirical data, we develop a framework that portrays goals as an entangled, dynamic, and ambiguously hierarchical web of variously perceived, higher- and lower-level goals that can be characterized across six dimensions: level, origin, authenticity, relevance, content, and overtness. We then explore the paradox in terms of the framework and so propose a much elaborated theoretical understanding of it. This provides theoretical and practical understanding relevant to management and governance in and of collaboration.

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