Presentation on theme: "Designing Resilient Watershed Partnerships: Structural Properties, Life-Cycles, and the Longevity of Watershed Partnerships Mark T. Imperial, Ph.D. Master."— Presentation transcript:
1 Designing Resilient Watershed Partnerships: Structural Properties, Life-Cycles, and the Longevity of Watershed PartnershipsMark T. Imperial, Ph.D.Master of Public Administration ProgramUniversity of North Carolina WilmingtonTomas Koontz, Ph.D.School of Environment and Natural ResourcesOhio State UniversityPresented at SECOPA 2008,Orlando, FL September 24 – 27, 2008
2 Research QuestionsOur objective is to develop testable propositions that determine:How collaborative organizations evolve?The structural properties of collaborative organizations that influence their ability to endure over timeWe build on theory in organizational theory, networks, collaboration, and institutional rational choice to develop theoretical propositionsUnderstanding the structural properties of collaborative organizations and their evolutionary dynamics (i.e., life cycles) should advance our understanding collaborative environmental management (CEM)
3 Research on Watershed Partnerships Emphasis on “lessons learned” rather than theory testing or developmentDominated by case study and cross-sectional researchLack of consistent definition of a “partnership” or systematically comparing their structural propertiesLack of attention to their dynamic properties, yet there is often a succession of different partnerships in watersheds overFailure to distinguish between networks and organizations as alternative strategies of improving watershed governance
4 Collaboration and Networks Collaboration is any joint activity by two or more organization intended to create public value by working together rather than separatelyA Network relationship designed to improve governance of larger interorganizational network in the watershedDifferent than hierarchy (i.e., organization) and markets which are the other strategies for governing a watershed’s interorganizational networkWide range of collaboration at the operational and policy-making levels that may or may not be interrelated in a watershedThese activities are governed by networks of formal and informal relationships based on trust, reciprocity, and social normsOur focus in this paper is when these relationships produce a new organizational form
5 Collaborative Organizations When organizations (and individuals) embrace a collaborative process, make joint decisions, and begin to act as a single entity“Second order” organization whose membership is typically comprised of other organizations, although individuals may be membersWhile networks are an important, relations among members end up being governed by formal and informal rules that give rise to a distinct organizational structureThe structure exhibits some element of intentionality, acquires resources, develops a boundary sand exerts its own control over resources, and has a structured set of exchange processesMembership has consequences and its members have a distinct identity and take actions on behalf of the new entityMight even acquire its own staff and dedicated resources that or deployed to advance the collaborative organization’s strategy
6 What is the life-cycle of a collaborative Organization? Draw on literature of organizational life-cyclesWide range of multi-stage models – we rely on a simple four-stage summary modelAdopt a less controversial view that stages represent clusters of issues and problems that an organizational system must confrontThe problems suggests a sequential ordering of organizational development but the time spent at each stage could vary considerablyDevelopment does not have to proceed linearly – older organizations might change their structure in ways that revert to solving problems associated with earlier stagesWhile life-cycles end in death, the death and decline stage are not included because not all organizations die and most die an early death.Death and decline are explained by different theoriesCameron and Whetten 1983, Quinn and Cameron 1983, Whetten 1987
7 Organizational Life-Cycles of Collaborative Organizations Entrepreneurial stageInnovationLots of ideasHigh creativityEntrepreneurial activities to acquire needed resourcesRelatively little planning and coordination compared to later stagesFormation of a “niche” in the watershed’s networkOrganization develops its identity and ideology to distinguish itself from others in the networkHeavily influenced by “champions” and entrepreneurial founding members
8 Organizational Life-Cycles of Collaborative Organizations Collectivity stageHigh cohesion among membersSense of familyFace-to-face communicationsInformal communication and organization structuresInvestment in resources may exceed returns but growing support for its overarching strategy and future ability to secure needed resourcesChampions and entrepreneurs are still needed but increased need for a coordinator and facilitator to manage communication process and for fixer/brokers who can keep the group focused on its strategy
9 Organizational Life-Cycles of Collaborative Organizations Formalization and control stageMarked by the institutionalization of organizational strategy and its structure embodied by its rules, procedures, and routinesFlexibility is reduced to create a more stable system of interactionsConservatism reignsEmphasis shifts to production, efficiency, and maintenance of the organization and its ability to achieve its goalsCoordinators and facilitators continue to play an important roleNeed for someone to play role of devil’s advocate to avoid group think, fixer/brokers who can help with institutionalization problems, and unsnarlers who can navigate through growing internal and external bureaucratic constraints
10 Organizational Life-Cycles of Collaborative Organizations Elaboration of structure stageDecision making is often decentralized to organizational sub-unitsFocus begins to shift towards boundary expansion by modifying goals, strategies, processes, or targeting new clientsAdaptations and emergence of new subsystems are commonLeadership needs may switch back to champions and entrepreneurs with the vision and drive to lead these expansions in the organization
11 Implications of Life-Cycle Model Governance of collaborative organization changes over timeEarly emphasis on trust and norms is replaced more formalized processes and rule structuresOrganizational members have different measures of organizational effectiveness at different life-cycle stagesEntrepreneurial stage: acquiring necessary resourcesCollectivity stage: trust, relationships, and internal processesControl and elaboration of structure stages: efficient production and investment in organization specific processesSince researchers examine partnerships with different structures and life-cycle stages, this explains the variation in “lessons learned” and “success” factorsCross-sectional research can ignore importance of life-cycles and issues related to creation and death
12 Structural Inertia Theory Applied to a wide range of organizations and networksWe argue that it also applies to the collaborative organizational formDiversity in organizational forms is greatest during creationOnce resource commitments are made they are difficult to recoverResources are required to sustain interactionsTends to be some stability in structures when viewed over timeResearchers refer to this as structural inertiaInertia is not a symptom of “bad” management but is actually a by-product of an well designed organizational system that exploits the synergies of members and their resourcesHannan and Freeman (1984)Amburgey, et al.
13 Structural Inertia Theory Basic theoretical argumentsEnvironment that an organization operates in creates a selection process that favors organizations with structures that are difficult to changeThis doesn’t mean that organizations don’t change but that they respond relatively slow to threats and opportunities and tend to make peripheral rather than core changesModern world tends to favor organizations that haveCapacity for reliable performance and account rationally for their actionsReliability and accountability also depend on the organizations ability to reproduce its structure consistentlyOrganizations with high levels of all three factors are more likely to survive than those with low levelsOlder organizations will tend to have higher levels of all three factors than new organizations
14 Structural Inertia Theory Accountability is a critical issueDuring early stages of an organization potential members and resource contributors want assurances that the investment of resources will not be wastedAt the same time, too much emphasis on accountability or poorly designed monitoring systems can create disincentives for joining and/or contributing resources to the organizationInstitutionalization encourages reproducibility but is a “two-edged” swordInstitutionalization can lower the transaction costs associated with exchange processes because members no longer need to expend resources to reproduce the structureHowever, the process of institutionalization makes organizations resistant to change
15 PropositionsP1: Collaborative organizations with high reliability are more likely to survive than organizations that are unreliable.P2: Collaborative organizations with high accountability are more likely to survive than organizations that are unaccountable or have poorly designed accountability systems that create incentives for nonparticipation.P3: Older collaborative organizations will have higher reliability and accountability than younger collaborative organizations.P4: Collaborative organizations that have reproducible structures (i.e., institutionalized rules, routines, and procedures) are more like to survive than collaborative organizations with non-reproducible structures.P5: Older collaborative organizations are like to have more reproducible structures (i.e., institutionalized rules, routines, and procedures) than younger collaborative organizations.
16 Structure of Collaborative Organizations We argue that organizations as structured systems of routines and competencies, which refer to the repetitive patterns of activities by individuals and groups within the organizationOur approach borrows heavily from the institutional rational choice literatureRules are explicitly or implicit attempts to achieve order and predictabilityPrescriptions that forbid, permit, or require actions or outcomes and the sanctions or rewards associated with following the rulesFormal or informal and wide variation in level of formalityOperate configurationally in that the way one set of rules operates can affect anotherHierarchical, polycentric, or nested rule structures are all possible
17 Boundary RulesConfiguration and interaction between member and strategy rules generates the boundary that distinguishes the collaborative organization from other network membersMember RulesWho can or cannot be a memberDifferent types of members (member, associate member, ex officio)Members are organizations but individuals might be includedVoluntary or required by a higher-order set of rules (e.g., state statute)Rules pertaining to expansion or expulsion of membersSelection of members will influence and constrain the strategic options of the collaborative organization
18 Boundary Rules Strategy Rules Specify shared definitions of a problem or set of problems within the domain of the organizationSpecify the responses to problems that are legitimate or illegitimate – what it can or cannot do, what are its roles or processesSpecify how it will acquire resources needed to accomplish these tasksSpecify the relationship between the collaborative organization and other members – relationship to the “turf” of network membersStrategic choices are likely to influence the membership structure of the collaborative organization
19 Decision RulesShape the processes by which organizational members develop norms and make decisionsRules are likely to evolve towards formality and complexity and may have a path-dependent qualityPreference Aggregation RulesConsensus is common but formal structures may have more complex voting systemsDistribution of Power RulesEquality, voting vs. nonvoting, creation of executive boards, centralized vs. decentralizedDistribution of Roles/Responsibility RulesOfficers, sub-units, work groups, specialization of functionsDistribution of Participation RulesWidth: degree each member participates in each decisionDepth: degree each member can influence a specific decision
20 Coordination RulesPreference aggregation rules typically give rise to coordination rules that define mutual exchange rights among membersExchange RulesSet up the operating procedures that govern resource exchanges between the member and the collaborative organization or between membersMonitoring RulesCreated to govern exchange process and ensure that members follow through on commitmentsDispute Resolution RulesSpecify how conflicts among members will be resolvedEnforcement RulesSanctions for noncompliance of rewards for compliance
21 PropositionsP6: Collaborative organizations that have formal rules are more like to survive than collaborative organizations that rely on informal rules.P7: As a collaborative organization increases the scope of its membership, it is more likely to have formal rules than if it has a small membership.P8: As a collaborative organization increases the complexity of its membership, strategy, decision, and coordination rule structures, it is more likely survive if it formalizes these rules than if it relies on informal rules and norms.
22 The “Liability of Newness” Organizational theory demonstrates that new organizations suffer from a “liability of newness”Younger organizations have a higher propensity to die (regardless of life-cycle stage) than older organizationsWe argue that collaborative organizations are likely to have a similar liability and new organizations will have a higher likelihood of failure than those that are olderWe are not interested in those created with the express purpose of being dissolved once some task or set of tasks is completedLiability of newness arises from a combination of internal and external factorsInternally, fundamental changes in core rules and organizational routines robs the organization of its historyResets the liability of newness clock back to zeroStinchombe (1965)Singh, et al. (1986)Hannan and Freeman (1984)
23 The “Liability of Newness” Process of acquiring external legitimacy often takes time and is important for any organization’s survivalSome minimum level of legitimacy is needed to acquire resources (e.g., membership, public or political support, money, etc.) needed to surviveCollaborative organization must be perceived as a legitimate response to watershed problemsAs organizations grow older they tend to develop stronger exchange relationships, become part of the hierarchy, and have their actions endorsed by powerful actorsOlder organizations tend to be more legitimateOne way younger organizations offset their liability of newness is to acquire legitimacy
24 The “Liability of Newness” Literature is less clear on the relationship between organizational change and death ratesNet affects appear to depend on timeChanges may prove to be adaptive but only after enough time passes to repair the problems incurred as a result of the disruptive aspect of the changeOlder organizations learn to change by changing and develop modification routines so certain changes are more likely to be repeated over time
25 PropositionsP9: Older collaborative organizations are likely to be viewed by members of the network as more legitimate than younger collaborative organizations.P10: Collaborative organizations with formal rules structures are likely to be viewed by members of the networks as more legitimate than collaborative organizations that rely on informal rule structuresP11: Collaborative organizations with higher levels of legitimacy are more likely to survive than collaborative organizations will low levels of legitimacy.P12: Young collaborative organizations that acquire high legitimacy by adopting formal rules or by other means will have a higher rate of survival than those with low legitimacy.P13: Younger collaborative organizations that make major changes to their membership, strategy, decision, and coordination rule structures will increase their risk of death.P14: Older collaborative organizations that make major changes to their membership, strategy, decision, and coordination rule structures increase their risk of death to that of a younger organization.
26 ImplicationsImportant differences between networks and organizations as strategies for improving watershed governanceCollaborative organizations are a hybrid form that shares important features of network and hierarchical governance strategies (markets are the third)Important to understand their structural characteristics and recognize that watershed partnerships can differ significantly.Understanding these differences is critical to theory building
27 ImplicationsNeed to understand how to design and manage collaborative organizations because they get things done and improve network governanceConnect subset of network in stable, ongoing set of interactions repeated over long time periodsCreates multiplexity by connecting some network members in new waysServes as a hub within the network – a forum for making collective decisions and achieving direction, control, and coordination among network membersGenerates trust that is then used to govern other network relationsGenerates particular form of organizational learning – “collaborative know how” that is used to facilitate other collaboration among network members
28 ImplicationsTheory related to the structure and survivability of collaborative organizations is important if we want to craft institutions (e.g., watershed partnerships) that endure over long time periodsAddressing watershed problems requires sustained efforts over long time periods to avoid “random acts of environmental kindness”Paper helps reduce the knowledge gap related to the life-cycle features of a collaborative organizationJust as the architect needs to understand how to build a building, collaborative public manager needs to understand how collaborative organizations form and developLife-cycle literature draws attention to important structural features as well as the managerial problems during different stages
29 Implications Important implications for research Collaboration, network, and watershed researches tends to focus on exemplary activities with a record of achievementNeed to balance the functionality with an understanding of the dysfunctional to understand why they fail to work or die an unexpected deathTheory development also a requires greater precision in how we define and systematically compare these institutions and governance arrangements
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