Collaboration processes in partnership working: local regeneration in Nigeria.
Conference: Bournemouth University, Faculty of ManagementAbstract:
Local regeneration partnerships are being actively implemented by the Nigerian government as an innovative policy to deliver public infrastructure and to improve the quality of public services, particularly to improve the living standards of the populace. Nigeria being the biggest economy in Africa has a huge amount of demands for high quality infrastructure projects and public services; this has necessitated socioeconomic reforms that have paved the way for Public Private Partnerships and partnership working. Nonetheless, the complexity of PPP arrangements in Nigeria, as it concerns bureaucratic practices in public institutions; limited competences of partner organisations in partnership arrangements; and opportunistic proponents in the collaboration processes of these partnerships amongst other challenges has constituted a dilemma for the public and private sectors to balance the interests of partner organisations.
In this thesis, the collaboration processes that influence, shape and impact on partnership working in Nigerian local regeneration partnerships are studied and the implications that results from these partnership working are explained. A qualitative inductive approach is adopted in this research, using a case study strategy to address the overall research aim. The qualitative study drew on data from 42 in-depth semi- structured interviews with participants from the public and private sector organisations involved in the collaboration processes of five local regeneration partnerships. Utilising the collaborative advantage concept as the guiding theoretical framework, wherein collaborative advantage imply that organisations should only collaborate, when an objective can be met that none of the organisations otherwise could have achieved on their own.
The findings of this research revealed that distinct factors within the Nigerian institutional environment have led to PPP policy adoption and implementation, but local context factors act as constraints in the implementation of partnership arrangements such that they have not turned out as expected. Competence gaps and limitations in the capacity of partners to make effective decisions with regards to the management of partnerships and in carrying out the terms of partnership agreements have necessitated the services of PPP consultants and transaction advisers in guiding the partnership process. The findings of this research also indicated that due to institutional and local conditions in Nigeria, partner organisations adapt operating procedures to mitigate against the risks faced in the partnership working. Consequently, the successful delivery of the partnerships goals had implications for the survival of the Nigerian local regeneration partnerships investigated. Furthermore, by utilising the collaborative advantage theory, it emerged from the empirical data that sustainability of partnership agreements, improved interaction among partners and the efficient provision of services are strategic elements of collaborative advantage that could be achieved in partnership working.
The research also contributes to knowledge by enhancing the collaborative advantage theory through its application in local regeneration partnerships and within the developing country context of Nigeria. The research delineated that the collaboration elements; mutual interdependence, trust, transparency and accountability have implications on the strategic decisions made during the collaboration processes of the five Nigerian local regeneration partnership arrangements. A conceptual model was developed for deeply understanding collaborative work in Nigerian local regeneration partnerships; this model’s core thus allows its consideration to be applied to various forms of Public Private Partnerships within Nigeria and to a greater extent Public Private Partnership practices in sub-Sahara Africa. Based on the research findings of this study, a number of PPP policy recommendations are presented to raise the effectiveness of collaboration processes in Nigerian local regeneration partnerships.