Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Niraj Verma

Second Advisor

Dr. Robin Hurst

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Huff

Fourth Advisor

Dr. I-Shian Suen


Cross-sector partnerships that combine the perspectives and needs of public, private, and nonprofit sectors have been used to address public policy challenges. Research has shown that trust and reputation among partners play an important role in the performance of partnerships. Trust has been positively associated with the reduction of transaction costs of partnerships, and therefore, this study used a Transaction Cost Economics (TCE) approach as the theoretical framework.

Some partnerships are volitional while others are the results of legal or other mandates. Does this volitional or non-volitional (mandated) status affect how collaboration is perceived? For instance, will collaboration and trust be more likely to be positively perceived when partners are mandated or when they are volitional? And how does this perceived collaboration affect transaction costs and ultimately, the success of these partnerships? To answer these questions, this study used a non-experimental, quantitative research design. Its findings are consistent with the literature on the importance of trust and collaboration. The results confirmed that the perception of collaboration differs when partnerships have mandated partners and when the partnership has volitional or non-mandated partners. Contrary to the literature, mandated partners had a slightly stronger perception of collaboration than non-mandated ones, something that was traced to the sectoral origins of the partners. This underscored the importance of analyzing partnerships by sectors rather than just as an aggregate.

Further disaggregation was obtained by dissecting collaboration into components. All four components derived from the study: (1) “Partnership Capacity;” (2) “Partnership Responsiveness;” (3) “Partnership Legitimacy;” and (4) “Partnership Momentum” were perceived differently in cross-sector partnerships with mandated and non-mandated partners and, except for “Partnership Legitimacy,” non-mandated partners perceived collaboration more strongly.

Overall, the results of the study confirmed some aspects of the literature, particularly the salience of trust in reducing transaction costs and furthering collaboration. At the same time, the results extend the literature by introducing two broad considerations: (a) sectoral origin or allegiance of participants and (b) whether they were mandated to participate. As well, by dissecting collaboration into constituent parts, the study advances the literature by showing how the perception of capacity, responsiveness, legitimacy and momentum can affect collaboration in partnerships.


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