Panel Paper: Creating Public Values through Cross-Sector Collaboration: Case of Business Improvement Districts in New Jersey

Friday, November 9, 2018
8209 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

JungAh (Claire) Yun, Kean University and Norma Riccucci, Rutgers University

The field of public administration has long been interested in cross-sector collaboration (CSC); how cross-sector collaboration can achieve policy goals and improve the quality of public service. It has also been described in the context of contractual relationships and public private partnerships to facilitate and motivate organizational and institutional changes (Sorensen & Torfing, 2011). Cross-sector collaboration (CSC) is mainly initiated and sustained by individual entrepreneurs, but special arrangements have been followed to achieve collaborative advantages (O'Leary, 2015).

The major challenges have been accountability, defining public values for new forms of governments and their partners (Becker, 2010; Kettl, 2006; Posner, 2002; Romzek, LeRoux, Johnston, Kempf, & Piatak, 2014). An increase in contractual relationships and other special arrangements with governments requires governments to incorporate their capacity, attitude, and leadership for cross-sector collaboration. In other words, cross-sector collaboration requires us to extend the boundary of public management to partners, managers and citizens (Emerson, Nabatchi, & Balogh, 2012; Kettl, 2006). In this sense, effective collaborative relationships depend upon the understanding of the shared goals and values of partners and multiple stakeholders.

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are considered as a form of special-purpose government and cross-sector collaboration(Becker, 2010; Grossman & Holzer, 2016). The BIDs exist not only as a form of public entrepreneurship to solve challenges in communities, but they also require capacity to manage and govern this special arrangement through cross-sector participants' collaboration. Thus, understanding cross-sector collaboration and pursuing leadership tasks for creating a cross-sector regime will be critical for success (Bryson, Crosby, & Stone, 2006; Cristofoli, Meneguzzo, & Riccucci, 2017).

Data & Methods This study uses mixed methods to examine collaborative advantages and challenges created by different perspectives of participants. A total of 20 interviews were conducted with board members (11) and executive directors (9) from 10 different SIDs in New Jersey. Interviews are conducted by using semi-structured interview questions prepared with open-ended questions. For the quantitative analysis, a survey has been designed based on the findings of interviews. The survey was conducted through online access.

Findings The findings suggest that collaboration can be enhanced by supports as well as capacities of multiple participants. BIDs can be strengthened by collaborative governance, such as professional expertise of managing directors and active participation of volunteering board/trust members. However, BIDs could not be sustained without support from governments and communities, because they can be politically vulnerable to the whims of multiple partners. Furthermore, participants perceive differences and improvements achieved by successful BIDs and request more participation of communities for greater success. Although economic and institutional challenges are the biggest challenges for declining city and town areas, BIDs are important collaborative efforts made by governments as well as private and nonprofit organizations.