Exploring Collaborative Governance Processes Involving Nonprofits

Calò, Francesca; Teasdale, Simon; Roy, Michael J.; Bellazzecca, Enrico and Mazzei, Micaela (2023). Exploring Collaborative Governance Processes Involving Nonprofits. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 53(1) pp. 54–78.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/08997640231155817


Nonprofits are increasingly involved in collaborative governance mechanisms, on the premise that their proximity to end users and better understanding of the local contexts can lead to better policy outcomes. Although government–nonprofit relations have been theorized and explored by several studies, few studies have examined specifically collaborative governance, instead focusing on other phases of policy development or service delivery. In this article, we present a realist evaluation of data gathered from in-depth semi-structured interviews (N = 41) and four focus groups with stakeholders involved in collaborative governance arrangements within “Strategic Public Social Partnerships” in Scotland. Our findings indicate that collaborative governance processes involving nonprofits can potentially lead to improved services through mechanisms such as the development of trust and the establishment of new learning dynamics, and when knowledgeable leadership and mutuality drive collaborations. However, this is only true if the long-term sustainability of these processes translates into the mainstreaming of both the resulting services and their underlying collaborative principles.

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