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Working Together: Exploring the Factors that Influence Interorganizational Cooperation

Wukich, R. Clayton (2011) Working Together: Exploring the Factors that Influence Interorganizational Cooperation. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    Administrative and policy failures increasingly occur because of the inability of organizations to facilitate collective action in the absence of a central, hierarchical authority. I explore how organizations achieve (or fail to achieve) voluntary, self-organizing collective action that is not a direct result of external control, presenting a polycentric system of governance within a set of public, nonprofit, and for-profit agencies operating in the policy domain of emergency management. Using a complex adaptive systems framework (Axelrod and Cohen 1999), I identify the patterns of variation, interaction, and the choices made among agencies that determine whether organizations work together. I develop a model of an integrated, interdependent system of emergency management facilitated by a knowledge commons, as opposed to the established sequential cycle of disaster response. The research problem addressed, collective action without hierarchy, is fundamentally an issue of decision making. The ability of decision makers to recognize key situations in their environments and develop strategies for action, i.e. cognition, is critical. Analysis of network data and semi-structured interviews finds that urgent need, proximity, and professional capital, a concept developed in this dissertation, promote and sustain cooperation. I show how these factors increase the capacity of heterogeneous networks to accomplish shared goals. Even if the conditions of urgent need and proximity are satisfied, situations exist where agencies fail to cooperate. Key standards of professional performance—appearance, levels of staffing, past performance, response time, and the quality of equipment—influence the decisions of emergency managers to work together. I present the concept of professional capital to describe how these recognized standards of professional performance demonstrate competence and justify the decisions of managers to interact. Professional capital transcends jurisdictional and disciplinary boundaries, influencing the confidence of decision makers and shaping judgments based on expectations of performance. This concept adds a missing component to social capital theory, which currently focuses on the roles of pre-established trust and norms of reciprocity in promoting collective action.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmail
    Committee ChairComfort, Louise K.lkc@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberMiller, David Y.dymiller@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberDougherty, George W.gwdjr@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberSkertich, Robertskertichr@gmail.com
    Title: Working Together: Exploring the Factors that Influence Interorganizational Cooperation
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: Administrative and policy failures increasingly occur because of the inability of organizations to facilitate collective action in the absence of a central, hierarchical authority. I explore how organizations achieve (or fail to achieve) voluntary, self-organizing collective action that is not a direct result of external control, presenting a polycentric system of governance within a set of public, nonprofit, and for-profit agencies operating in the policy domain of emergency management. Using a complex adaptive systems framework (Axelrod and Cohen 1999), I identify the patterns of variation, interaction, and the choices made among agencies that determine whether organizations work together. I develop a model of an integrated, interdependent system of emergency management facilitated by a knowledge commons, as opposed to the established sequential cycle of disaster response. The research problem addressed, collective action without hierarchy, is fundamentally an issue of decision making. The ability of decision makers to recognize key situations in their environments and develop strategies for action, i.e. cognition, is critical. Analysis of network data and semi-structured interviews finds that urgent need, proximity, and professional capital, a concept developed in this dissertation, promote and sustain cooperation. I show how these factors increase the capacity of heterogeneous networks to accomplish shared goals. Even if the conditions of urgent need and proximity are satisfied, situations exist where agencies fail to cooperate. Key standards of professional performance—appearance, levels of staffing, past performance, response time, and the quality of equipment—influence the decisions of emergency managers to work together. I present the concept of professional capital to describe how these recognized standards of professional performance demonstrate competence and justify the decisions of managers to interact. Professional capital transcends jurisdictional and disciplinary boundaries, influencing the confidence of decision makers and shaping judgments based on expectations of performance. This concept adds a missing component to social capital theory, which currently focuses on the roles of pre-established trust and norms of reciprocity in promoting collective action.
    Date: 28 June 2011
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 07 April 2011
    Approval Date: 28 June 2011
    Submission Date: 14 May 2011
    Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-05142011-091956
    Uncontrolled Keywords: complex adaptive systems; emergency management; governance; interorganizational cooperation; network analysis; organizational theory; professional capital; public management; social capital
    Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 14:44
    Last Modified: 15 Nov 2011 12:13
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-05142011-091956/, etd-05142011-091956

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