Bureaucrats vs. sharks: Managing sector differences in public-private joint ventures

Research output: Conference paperContribution


To explore our research questions we use a rich, in-depth qualitative study because of the complex, dynamic nature of public-private cooperation (Agranoff & Radin 1991; Marshall & Rossman 1995). The research process consisted of an interview study (Rubin & Rubin 2005), using one case: an economic development private company PTB set up by city councils, a savings bank, and a small group of leading local entrepreneurs in Barcelona, Spain. We coded the transcribed interviews, which ultimately lead to our narrated findings. In answering our first question, we find that the differences between sectors that cause conflict in the joint venture are: economic vs. political rationales; faster vs. slower paces and short-term vs. long-term timeframes; the uniformity of business organizations vs. the multidimensionality of public organizations; and the negative stereotyping of each other. In successfully overcoming these differences, we find that joint venture managers execute three practices: communicating with stakeholders, involving the social context, and facilitating interaction. We discuss these findings with respect to the existing literature on public-private differences (Nutt 2006; Rainey & Bozeman 2000) and collaborative management (Agranoff 2007; Huxham 2003). And, following Bardach's (2004) extrapolation strategy, we also uncover the two social mechanisms, which drive the three identified practices: building trust, shared meaning-making, attending the socio-political context, and bridging diversity. We conclude by specifying the case's context and discussing the findings limitations and extrapolation potential.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2009
Event1st ESADE-HEC Symposium on Transversal Topics 2009 -
Duration: 2 Apr 20093 Apr 2009


Conference1st ESADE-HEC Symposium on Transversal Topics 2009


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