Story Across Organizations
When considering how different organizations are structured and function, there are a few key aspects that help facilitate inter-organizational collaboration:
- Mission in action
- Leadership styles and structures
- Relative sizes and statuses of organizations
- Cultures of organizations
If a big organization (a school district) is coordinating with (or even hiring as consultants) a smaller organization (such as a tutoring company or a local homework help volunteer program), then there will be some need to translate between the two organizations. The smaller community organization is often lower status, and so they may need to attune to the purposes of the larger organization in their coordination work. Leaders of the smaller organization may find that they need to know many key players in the big organization while, at the same time, those in the big organization may know only one contact in the smaller organization. It may be that each organization has its own story, and that's fine as long as there's room for the other organization in each of their stories.
Dedicated to Kirstin Phelps, who did an absolutely masterful job of defending her dissertation proposal, a case study of inter-organizational collaboration with a focus on understanding leadership in multiple dimensions. Congratulations Kirstin! With special thanks to Sheila Bishop for sharing some of her forthcoming work on collaboration. Thanks also to my co-teachers Liz Hoiem (fall 2014) and Rachel Magee (fall 2015) for their inspiring collaborations in 490YS and elsewhere. And thanks to Danielle Chynoweth and Ashley Booth who were inspirational to me in developing this post.