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Creating Strategic Partnerships A Guide for Educational Institutions and Their Partnerships

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Strategic partnerships differ from traditional partnerships in the rational for startup. Strategic partnerships require goals aligned with institutional mission and vision. Intentionality and alignment are cornerstone features of strategic partnerships, which provide greater leverage for change.





The posting below is a chapter-by-chapter summary of the major points in the book, Creating Strategic Partnerships: A Guide for Educational Institutions and Their Partnerships, by Pamela L. Eddy and Marilyn J. Amey. Published by Stylus Publishing, LLC, 22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, Virginia 20166-2102. Copyright © 2014 by Stylus Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.


Rick Reis

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Creating Strategic Partnerships: A Guide for Educational Institutions and Their Partnerships

Appendix A – Chapter Summary Points

Prologue: The Increasing Role of Partnerships in Education
• Pressures to partner are increasing, due to both policy mandates and economics.
• Grant funders, foundations, and donors are calling for more collaborations to increase efficiencies and scale up innovations.
• Motivations to partner differ among participants; however, most successful partnerships are built on a shared value system and alignment of goals.

• Top-level leaders are important champions for partnering.
• Partners most often operate from different organizational frameworks, which complicate collaborations.
• Framing the reasons to partner and the rationale for dedication of resources toward the partnership is critical for campus and community buy-in. How leaders help frame change matters to ultimate success.

Chapter 1: Creating a Strategic Partnership
• Partnerships are becoming increasingly critical to campus operations.
• Traditional and strategic partnerships differ in terms of the initial motivations and intentions.
• Traditional partnerships based on individuals historically have had limited shelf lives and long-term sustainability.
• Strategic partnerships differ from traditional partnerships in the rational for startup. Strategic partnerships require goals aligned with institutional mission and vision. Intentionality and alignment are cornerstone features of strategic partnerships, which provide greater leverage for change.

• Change occurs in both forms of partnerships, but the type of change differs. Traditional partnerships create first-order (surface) change, whereas strategic partnerships create second-order (deep) change.

Chapter 2: Partnership Motivations and Roles
• The initial source of motivation or rationale to partner influences ultimate outcomes.
• Partnerships based on shared beliefs and values have a greater chance of long-term success.
• Traditional partnerships may shift to strategic partnerships when leaders recognize the alignment of institutional goals with potential emerging from the partnership relationship.

• The roles of the partners in both their home institution and within the partnership affect what type of power individuals use in the newly formed partnership and what type of power or influence they have in their home institution.

• Complex cognitive teams provide more flexibility and tap into a wider range of expertise and experience.
• Organizational culture influences alignment for partners – challenges may emerge when partners lack shared understandings of ideas, processes, or structures.

Chapter 3: Relationships and Partners
• Relationships provide a critical building block in the formation of partnerships.
• An individual’s level of social capital influences who is asked to partner, the level of resources available, centrality to decision making, and the type of knowledge accessible to partners.

• Traditional partnerships are coupled more loosely to an organization’s core mission and planning efforts.
• Relationships change over the course of the partnerships, either expanding the social capital of those involved or spending this capital.

• Relationships influence the decision-making process within partnerships and within the home institution.
• Institutional operations and policy influence relationships within organizations and among partners.

Chapter 4: Communication and Framing
• How leaders communicate and frame change influence how change is interpreted by campus members.
• Sense-making must occur for leaders before they can help frame meaning for others.
• Leaders frame traditional partnerships and strategic partnerships differently.
• How partnerships are understood on campus affects sustainability of the partnership.
• Links exist between approaches to leadership and approaches to framing.
• Communication in traditional partnerships has a more technical orientation, with the focus on processes, tactics, and existing terminology.

• Framing in strategic partnerships involves the creation of shared terms and language and takes on a multidisciplinary orientation.

• The types of boundaries that exist among organizations either create barriers to partnering or foster collaboration.

Chapter 5: Organizing Partnerships: The Role of Structure and Resources
• Institutions entering partnerships often have different underlying organizational frameworks.
• The type of paradigm and frameworks in place dictates how partnerships are formed and what elements receive priority.

• The level of organizational capital, in its wide variety of forms, can create power imbalances among partners.
• All partners bring different forms of resources and power to the collaboration.
• How power differentials are negotiated sets the stage for long-term sustainability or partnership failure.
• Individuals and organizations enter partnerships with different mental models, and these orientations may be based on role, network within the institution, and underlying philosophical orientation.

Chapter 6: Leadership and Partnering
• Leadership emerges in a variety of forms in partnerships.
• Both Leaders and leaders play critical roles in various stages of partnerships.
• Champions draw on their social network and position to support partnering.
• Collaborative leadership emerges by form and necessity in partnerships.
• Adaptive change is an outcome of partnering, and how leaders manage and create the context for this change matters.

• The metaphor of a kaleidoscope helps illustrate the dynamic interchange of leadership, levels, and phases within partnerships.
• Adaptive change acknowledges and takes into consideration changing contexts, using feedback loops to support organizational learning.
• Leading second-order change requires creating meaning for stakeholders and engaging in organizational learning.

Chapter 7: Partnership Capital: Sustaining Strategic Collaborations
• Foundational elements for the creation of partnership capital include:
     o trust
     o shared meaning
     o strategic alignment
• Adaptive space serves as a context that supports the creation of partnership capital.
• Organizational slack provides additional opportunities for partnership capital to emerge.
• Barriers to the creation of partnership capital include:
     o a focus on individual organizational goals rather than partnership objectives
     o reliance on a single champion
     o lack of shared ethos or philosophy regarding the partnership
     o unintended consequences on curriculum development and faculty rewards
• Higher levels of organizational learning (double loop and triple loop) support the creation of partnership capital.
• Cross-sector collaboration is becoming more of a norm as policy-makers seek ways to leverage limited resources.

Chapter 8: Strategies for Creating Lasting Partnerships
• Successful strategic partnerships involve multiple levels and motivations simultaneously.
• Champions use a variety of sources of social capital to help create strategic partnerships.
• Motivations for partnering may vary, but a central component of strategic partnerships is value alignment.
• Time changes partnerships – and evaluation must occur to determine whether the partnership is achieving its intended goals.

• The creation of partnership capital provides a foundation for sustainable partnering that outlives the roles of any one or two individual champions.

• Framing of strategic partnerships is continuous; the creation of shared meaning emerges through successful framing efforts.
• Different questions must be addressed depending on the level of involvement in the partnership process.