Sunday, 31 May 2009

Collaboration and social capital

There's quite a lot of literature on collaboration in organisations {Delbridge, 2007 ;Franco, 2008 ;Huxham, 1991 ;Huxham, 2003 ;Huxham, 2000 }

Siv Vangen and Chris Huxham have particularly researched a lot on collaboration in the public sector. What surprises me is that they cite nothing, zilch, on social capital. They just don't use any of it, not Bourdieu, not Coleman, not Putnam. I pointed this out to a supervisor, who suggested that it is because the collaboration literature doesn't take the past into account. That's interesting because Huxham and Vangen {Huxham, 2003} do mention the past in that expectations about the future of collaboration:
"will be based either on reputation or past behaviour or on more formal contracts and agreements"
but they don't recognise expectation, reputation or past behaviour as social capital.

So there's this massive gap, where the current theory and practice of collaboration doesn't apply social capital theory.

DELBRIDGE, R. (2007) Explaining Conflicted Collaboration: A Critical Realist Approach to Hegemony. Organization Studies (01708406), 28, 1347-1357.
FRANCO, L. (2008) Facilitating Collaboration with Problem Structuring Methods: A Case Study of an Inter-Organisational Construction Partnership. Group Decision & Negotiation, 17, 267-286.
HUXHAM, C. (1991) Facilitating Collaboration: Issues in Multi-Organizational Group Decision Support in Voluntary, Informal Collaborative Settings. The Journal of the Operational Research Society, 42, 1037-1045.
HUXHAM, C. (2003) Theorizing collaboration practice. Public Management Review, 5, 401-423.
HUXHAM, C. & VANGEN, S. (2000) Ambiguity, complexity and dynamics in the membership of collaboration. Human Relations, 53, 771-806.

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