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Entrepreneurial strategies for managing interagency collaboration

Page, S. (2003). Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 13(3), 311–339.

Public administration increasingly entails interagency collaboration, contracting, and other interorganizational arrangements. These loosely coupled alternatives to unified hierarchy alter the nature of managerial work. This article explores how the entrepreneurial strategies that managers find useful in hierarchical agencies apply in collaborative settings where formal authority is lacking and sustaining cooperation among partners is critical for performance. This goal is achieved by examining recent efforts to foster community collaboration in order to improve services for children and families in Georgia and Vermont. The participants in these initiatives have agreed on broad results and concrete indicators of social well‐being, and they use them to plan, evaluate, and improve interorganizational efforts to improve human services. The participants' experiences in Georgia and Vermont suggest that managers can promote innovation and continuous improvement in collaborative settings by building interorganizational bonds around specific measures of progress. In combination, such bonds and measures can help align collaborators' understandings of what their organizations are working together to produce and how they can achieve their joint aims.