Vital Collaboratives, Alliances, and Partnerships: A Search for Key Elements of an Effective Public-Private Partnership.


Owing to the significant structural changes that have occurred in the global marketplace over the past 2 decades, a corresponding increase of public-private partnerships have been established among the business sector, local governments, and public community colleges. This qualitative project sought to identify and substantiate key elements that may be common to the formation, implementation, and maintenance stages of public-private partnerships. Who or what minimum conditions are necessary to the successful navigation of each stage? What obstacles typically arise during each stage, and how are they managed or circumvented? What sorts of benefits are generated through these partnerships and what measures may be applied to determine whether a partnership is meeting its mission objectives or not? To investigate these elements, the researcher interviewed 18 key stakeholders directly involved with 1 or more partnerships between 1 or more divisions of a community college located in Tennessee (CCTN) and their respective for-profit private sector concerns. Data collected were entered into the NVivo8 program for qualitative coding, analysis, and interpretation. Data analysis suggested that visionary and innovative leadership was critical to the formation and implementation of partnerships; key themes of people, training, business, and need influenced the life cycle of the partnership; persons identified as champions formed the critical mass necessary to create and sustain partnerships; and both public and private sectors implemented informal and formal assessments, but differences existed in how and what they measured to determine the efficacy of each partnership. By substantiating, uncovering, or affirming common elements relevant to the establishment and maintenance of public-private partnerships as described in existing literature and this study, partnership stakeholders may find additional perspectives that may assist and guide the creation, implementation, and assessment of effective, mutually-beneficial public-private partnerships

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This paper was published in East Tennessee State University.

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