International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

enforcers, they take a stronger role, in effect ordering rationalization with the threat of cuts in funding if it does not occur. In the case of governments, they may go so far as to dictate the form a collaboration should take, for instance, a series of mergers. The cupid role is usually very beneficial to the collaborative process in that it trusts the parties to reach their own agreements and provides positive reinforcements when they do so. The enforcer role usually breeds massive resentment and concerted efforts by those being coerced to attack the third party's position. The original potential for collaboration can be lost as a result.

Resource Scarcity . A strong motivation to enter collaborative ventures can be created by a moderate amount of anxiety over declining resources ( Lawrence and Dyer 1983). Joint ventures can offer the prospect of synergy and leverage-more or better service for less money. Conversely, if cuts in resources appear too suddenly or are too large, they can create such stress and burnout that a "bunker mentality" sets in at the leadership level. This can quickly paralyze the willingness to innovate, including the effort needed to build collaborative ventures.

General Community and Social Values . Successful collaboration usually requires a basic trust in the other party and a willingness to trade off some of one's own interests to allow the others to gain some of theirs. In society at large, and in particular communities, there are general social values that address the willingness to trust others and compromise on one's interests. Various social commentators on the current state of North American society have pointed out that, in fact, these values are changing in a negative direction (e.g., Bethke-Elshtain 1995). Trust between people and organizations is breaking down and interests are more and more being defined as nonnegotiable rights. Such trends do not auger well for complex, large-scale collaborative efforts between voluntary sector organizations.

By way of conclusion, it is clear that the pressure for more collaboration in the nonprofit sector is great, but we need to know much more about what will get the actual process started and what determines its success. Consciousness of the various forms of collaborative effort and the factors affecting the process is an important beginning to the necessary research.



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INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION . The exchange of messages from one person to another, not necessarily verbally. One of the interesting things about communication is that it is impossible not to communicate. That is, for 24 hours of every day, as long as we are alive, we are simultaneously both sending and receiving communications. What we choose to wear, how we comb our hair, how we stand, what we prefer to eat or not eat; everything we do or don't do sends messages of some sort to others. They may not be the messages we would have liked to have communicated, or they may not be what we thought we were communicating, but as long as there is someone there to see us, or to hear us, we will have communicated something.

We are also receiving messages 24 hours of every day. Most of the messages we receive are nonhuman messages, frequently about the environment around us (the tempera


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