Does Cross-Sector Collaboration Lead to Higher Nonprofit Capacity?
Cross-sector social partnership (CSSP) case-based theory and research have long argued that nonprofits that engage in more integrative and enduring cross-sector partnerships should increase their organizational capacity. By increasing their capacity, nonprofits increase their ability to contribute to systemic change. The current research investigates this claim in a large-scale empirical research study. In particular, this study examines whether nonprofits that have a greater number of integrated cross-sector partnerships have greater capacities for financial management, strategic planning, external communication, board leadership, mission orientation, and staff management than nonprofits that have other types of interorganizational relationships. Moreover, it examines whether the length of these partnerships is associated with better capacity. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis drawn from surveys of 452 nonprofit organizations suggests that cross-sector collaboration is not systematically related to increased capacity. However, the results suggest that more enduring relationships between government and nonprofit organizations that extend beyond funder–recipient relationships are related to greater strategic planning capacity. Implications for CSSP research are drawn from the results, especially those concerned with the outcomes of CSSPs.
KeywordsCapacity Cross-sector social partnerships Interorganizational network Network portfolio Nonprofit organization
Cross-sector social partnership
This study was funded by the National Science Foundation (SES-1264417).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Bryson, J. M. (2011). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- C&E. (2010). Corporate-NGO partnerships barometer. London: C&E Advisory Services Limited.Google Scholar
- C&E. (2015). Corporate-NGO partnerships barometer. London: C&E Advisory Services Limited.Google Scholar
- Crane, A., & Seitanidi, M. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social partnerships and responsible business: What, why, and how? In Social partnerships and responsible business: A research handbook (pp. 1–12). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Dyer, J. H., & Singh, H. (1998). The relational view: Cooperative strategy and sources of interorganizational competitive advantage. Academy of Management Review, 23(4), 660–679.Google Scholar
- Gazley, B., & Guo, C (2015) What do we know about nonprofit collaboration? A comprehensive systematic review of the literature. In Academy of management proceedings (Vol. 2015, No. 1, pp. 15409). Academy of Management.Google Scholar
- Gray, B. (1989). Collaborating: Finding common ground for multiparty problems. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Gray, B., & Stites, J. P. (2013). Sustainability through partnerships: Capitalizing on collaboration. Network for business sustainability.Google Scholar
- Huxham, C., & Vangen, S. (2013). Managing to collaborate: The theory and practice of collaborative advantage. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Kindornay, S., Tissot, S., & Sheiban, N. (2014). The value of cross-sector development partnerships. Ottawa, CA: North-South Institute.Google Scholar
- Letts, C., Ryan, W. P., & Grossman, A. (1999). High performance nonprofit organizations: Managing upstream for greater impact. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Loza, J. (2004). Business-community partnerships: The case for community organization capacity building. Journal of Business Ethics, 53(3), 297–311. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:BUSI.0000039415.90007.56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Salamon, L. M., & Anheier, H. (1996). The international classifications of nonprofit organizations: ICNPO-Revision 1. The working papers of the John Hopkins comparative nonprofit sector project, no. 19. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies.Google Scholar
- Schorr, L. (2011). Common purpose: Strengthening families and neighborhoods to rebuild America. New York, NY: Anchor.Google Scholar
- Seitanidi, M. M. (2008). Adaptive responsibilities: Nonlinear interactions in cross-sector social partnerships. Emergence: Complexity & Organization, 10(3), 51–64.Google Scholar
- Shumate, M., Fu, J. S., Cooper, K. R., & Ihm, J. (2016). Interorganizational network portfolios of nonprofit organizations. In Proceedings of the 2016 Academy of Management meeting, Anaheim, CA. Google Scholar
- Shumate, M., Hsieh, Y. P., & O’Connor, A. (in press). How nonprofits report their partnerships with businesses: Extending the symbiotic sustainability model. Business & Society. Available online first at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0007650316645051
- Union of International Associations. (2013). Yearbook of international organizations online: Guide to global civil society networks. http://www.uia.org/organizations/ybonline.php2013. Accessed 2 April 2016.