Panel: Developing Dialogue on Collaboration: Better Measures of Collaboration and Impact on Sustainability
(Natural Resource Security, Energy and Environmental Policy)

Thursday, November 2, 2017: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Stetson E (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Cali A Curley, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
Panel Chairs:  Rachel Krause, University of Kansas
Discussants:  Sanya Carley, Indiana University

The term collaboration references the normatively approved behavior of sharing knowledge and resources with others to improve desired outcomes. Collaboration helps to overcome environments where resources are scarce, outcomes are cross-boundary, and/or knowledge is shrouded in information asymmetries. The concept of collaboration is often indicated through an individual’s identification of a partner that they collaborate with on some activity. This may be measured through frequency of communication or specificity of why they collaborated. However, there is no agreed upon best measure. Opening the floor for scholars who study this topic using a wide array of different techniques or concepts will best usher the discussion into “how can we better conceptualize collaboration no matter the sector or domain.”

Collaboration is often studied in the arena of sustainability because it requires the exchange of knowledge and resources between agencies and/or governments. This facilitates outcomes that are often far reaching--resulting in environmental benefits. Collaboration is often studied as a means to an end using a number of different empirical techniques. This panel seeks to encourage dialogue both regarding the outcomes of collaboration as well as develop measures for informal and formal forms of collaboration and discusses network analysis as a means to develop measures.

The four papers proposed on this panel are studying collaboration from a number of different theoretic and empirical perspectives. These papers have a wide range of lenses over which collaboration is studied including, but not limited to formality of the collaborative arrangement, network analysis, and specific collaborative function and its implications on outcomes. Angela Park’s paper builds a large-N study that focuses on operationalizing formal and informal mechanisms of collaboration. It tests specific hypotheses that closely look at intra-organizational collaboration going beyond the much of the current literature's focus on inter-organizational collaboration. Cali Curley’s paper, examines the outcomes associated with collaborative endeavors. It does this by focusing on policy change outcomes from collaboration in the area of sustainability.  Jessica Terman’s paper examines the transaction costs that may spur different collaborative arrangements and unpacks the tradeoffs between informal and formal collaboration. Julia Carboni’s paper utilizes network methods to establish and create measures of collaboration that can be used to assess weakness in collaborative governance arrangements.