Strategic Collaboration in Public and Nonprofit Administration: A Practice-Based Approach to Solving Shared Problems, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Strategic Collaboration in Public and Nonprofit Administration

A Practice-Based Approach to Solving Shared Problems, 1st Edition

By Dorothy Norris-Tirrell, Joy A. Clay


417 pages | 32 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781420088755
pub: 2010-04-26
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315087658
pub: 2017-09-25
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Market disruptions, climate change, and health pandemics lead the growing list of challenges faced by today’s leaders. These issues, along with countless others that do not make the daily news, require novel thinking and collaborative action to find workable solutions. However, many administrators stumble into collaboration without a strategic orientation. Using a practitioner-oriented style, Strategic Collaboration in Public and Nonprofit Administration: A Practice-Based Approach to Solving Shared Problems provides guidance on how to collaborate more effectively, with less frustration and better results.


The authors articulate an approach that takes advantage of windows of opportunity for real problem solving; brings multi-disciplinary participants to the table to engage more systematically in planning, analysis, decision making, and implementation; breaks down barriers to change; and ultimately, lays the foundation for new thinking and acting. They incorporate knowledge gained from organization and collaboration management research and personal experience to create a fresh approach to collaboration practice that highlights:

  • Collaboration Lifecycle Model
  • Metric for determining why and when to collaborate
  • Set of principles that distinguish Strategic Collaboration Practice
  • Overall Framework of Strategic Collaboration

Linking collaboration theory to effective practice, this book offers essential advice that fosters shared understanding, creative answers, and transformation results through strategic collaborative action. With an emphasis on application, it uses scenarios, real-world cases, tables, figures, tools, and checklists to highlight key points. The appendix includes supplemental resources such as collaboration operating guidelines, a meeting checklist, and a collaboration literature review to help public and nonprofit managers successfully convene, administer, and lead collaboration. The book presents a framework for engaging in collaboration in a way that stretches current thinking and advances public service practice.


Research on collaboration has grown tremendously, but a rigorous, step-by-step guide to collaborating in practice has been missing from my bookshelf. This book successfully fills that gap by introducing a comprehensive model of strategic collaboration and demonstrating thoroughly the applicability of the model with teachable case studies.

—Michael McGuire, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University

This book takes a huge step forward in linking collaboration theory to practice.  The editors do practitioners a great service in developing a strategic collaboration framework and buttressing it with helpful tools and illustrative case studies. I envision professionals turning to it frequently to guide their efforts to collaborate.

—James L. Perry, Distinguished Professor, Indiana University, Bloomington (USA) and Yonsei University, Seoul (South Korea)

A superb book for professional graduate programs in public administration, public health, education, and social work—full of points to keep in mind, concrete steps to take, specific tools to use, practical tips, and actual cases with lessons learned. The perfect antidote to unabashed enthusiasm for collaboration as a cure-all—we are reminded that it is often but not always desirable, should not be tried unless it will probably work, and is not attempted without careful preparation.

—Charles T. Goodsell, Virginia Tech

The co-editors and collaborators have done a masterful job of focusing our attention on the increasing relevance and significance of strategic collaboration. Their collective work advances our understanding of the theory and practice of these processes, and is ‘must reading’ for all who are concerned with effective public service delivery across jurisdictions.

—Meredith A. Newman, Florida International University; President, American Society for Public Administration; Fellow, National Academy of Public Administration

Table of Contents

The Promise of Strategic Collaboration

A New Lens: The Life Cycle Model of Collaboration

Assessing Collaborative Readiness: The Missing Strategic Step

Strategic Collaboration in Action: Six Principles

Attending to the Forgotten: The Elderly, Collaborative Practice, and Evacuation, P.J. Jenkins, J.J. Kiefer, and S. Laska

Running out of Classrooms! Solving Overcrowding through Collaborative School Planning, E. Dalehite

Moving Beyond Hierarchies: Creating Effective Collaboration Networks for West Nile Virus Biosurveillance in Oregon, G.B. Burke, C.M. Wirth, T.A. Pardo, A.D. Sullivan, H. Kwon, and J.R. Gil-Garcia

Information Stewardship and Collaboration: Advancing Evidence-Based Public Policy Decision Making, J.A. Clay and C. Martin

Choices and Challenges Sustaining a Rural Health Network When Funding Vanishes, D.J. Patt on and K.B. Stewart

Collaboration, Citizen Participation, and Environmental Protection in the Marine Oil Trade of Alaska, G. Busenberg

Paving the Way for Public Transportation in Texas through Public Collaboration, S.R. Majumdar, J. Pierce, and C. Moynihan

Cape Fear Healthy Carolinians: Taking Risks, Crossing Boundaries, T.J. Barth and E.J. Demski

Building a Community–Higher Education Collaboration to Meet the Needs of the Local Nonprofit Sector, D. Norris-Tirrell and S. Schmidt

The Mastery of Strategic Collaboration Practice


Appendix A: Recommended Reading List for Collaborative Practice

Appendix B: Collaboration Operating Guidelines Sample

Appendix C: Participant Agreement

Appendix D: Matrix of Collaboration Participant Roles

Appendix E: Checklist for Strategic Collaboration Meetings

Appendix F: Parliamentary Procedure Highlights for Effective Meetings

Appendix G: Collaborative Analysis of a Contested Policy Issue Checklist

Appendix H: Recent Collaboration Practice Literature

About the Authors

Dorothy Norris-Tirrell (Author) , Joy A. Clay (University of Memphis, Tennessee, USA) (Author)

About the Series

ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy

Founded in 1939, the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) is the premier professional organization for public administration, dedicated to advancing its art, science, teaching and practice. The ASPA book series provides expert information on a range of public administration issues, each authored by a leader in the field. Series Editor David Rosenbloom is Distinguished Professor of Public Administration in the School of Public Affairs at American University, USA.

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