Constructing a theoretical model of public-private alliance establishment in official development assistance programs

  • Les Baxter

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Collaborative arrangements between the public, private and other sectors are emerging as a popular means of delivering official development assistance programs (ODA). A common modality for these collaborations is public-private alliances (PPAs). While the success of these arrangements is well publicised, the reality is that failure rates are high, ranging from 30-70 per cent, and their performance is widely debated. A significant reason for these frequent failures may be the poor understanding of the dynamics of PPA establishment. More fundamentally, the lack of a comprehensive integrated theoretical framework results in fragmented research and simplistic approaches to alliance design. This thesis develops an Integrated Theoretical Model of PPA Alliance Establishment in ODA programs. The Theoretical Model provides researchers, practitioners and stakeholders working in PPA development with a better understanding of the processes of alliance establishment. It presents an integrated framework which can be used to make better decisions and reduce the high rates of failure and the poor performance that currently affect these popular ODA modalities. Using Grounded Theory methodology, this research employs the rich experiences, background and perceptions of senior managers and participants directly involved in PPA establishment to identify five core categories associated with alliance establishment: 'Processes and Process Issues'; 'Alliance Type'; 'Alliance Relationships'; 'Alliance Leadership'; and 'Modifiers'. The results of this analysis, together with supplementary comparative analyses and research, the insights and understanding from relevant previous studies, and the academic and technical literature have been combined to develop an Integrated Theoretical Model of PPA Establishment in ODA. This substantive model conceptually shows the interaction between the five core categories leading to alliance establishment. It also highlights the complex, non-linear and context-specific nature of alliance establishment and the particular importance of the 'Conception' stage of alliance formation. From a theoretical perspective, this work has added to the body of knowledge on PPA establishment in three ways. It develops an Integrated Model of PPA Establishment. This research identifies and explains the importance of 'Conception,' Alliance Type,' Alliance Leadership ,and 'Modifiers' in PPA establishment. It highlights the importance of 'Alliance Relationships' as a central focus of alliance establishment. In practical terms, the Integrated Theoretical Model conceptualises the processes of alliance establishment and identifies significant processes, factors and issues which need to be considered and resolved by practitioners during PPA design and formation. From a research perspective, the Integrated Theoretical Model provides a framework which can be used as a tool for further study of PPA establishment.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDeborah Ann Blackman (Supervisor) & Christopher John Sadleir (Supervisor)

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