THE ADAPTIVE CHALLENGES OF COLLABORATIVE LEADERS IN A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP
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The purpose of this dissertation was to determine whether senior leaders of a public-private partnership exemplified the key dimensions of collaboration, recognized the challenges that shaped their experience, and thrived as a partnership. Through qualitative methods and case study design, the current study provides an examination of the collaborative process of a five-member senior leadership board. Semi-structured interviews, document analysis, and a survey with 44 close-ended and five open-ended questions were used to collect data. Three major theoretical perspectives were used to analyze the data: (1) the process of collaboration; (2) the key dimensions of collaboration (governance, administration, organizational autonomy, mutuality, and norms); (3) and the adaptive challenges of leaders (Gray, 1989; Gray & Wood, 1991a, b; Thomson, 2001; Heifetz, 1994).
Findings indicated that leaders did exemplify collaboration to some extent, and most certainly recognized adaptive challenges. However, they were unable to recover from the impact of those challenges, which ultimately prevented them from thriving as a partnership. On the other hand, evidence demonstrated that each leader was able to leave the partnership with valuable lessons and insights to support her personal transformation as a leader.
While collaboration is a welcomed way of working among organization leaders, this study demonstrates there are criteria that must be in place in order to be successful and effective when collaborating, as the absence of these criteria can lead to problems. Thus, recommendations for practice and further research are presented.