Collaborating across sector boundaries: a story of tensions and dilemmas

Jacklin-Jarvis, Carol (2015). Collaborating across sector boundaries: a story of tensions and dilemmas. Voluntary Sector Review, 6(3) pp. 285–302.



This paper explores collaboration between voluntary and public sectors, through the lens of theories which surface the tensions of inter-organisational collaboration. These theories identify the tensions which actors experience, the inherent tensions which underlie these experiences, and the ways in which actors manage these tensions. Drawing on a study of the UK's children's services, the paper identifies three inter-related tensions experienced by voluntary sector participants - tensions between agency and dependency, values and pragmatism, and distinctiveness and incorporation. While these can be seen to relate to the inherent unity/diversity tension identified in the literature (Ospina and Saz-Carranza, 2010), the paper argues that these also relate to inter-organisational context, and more specifically, to the power asymmetry between sectors.

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