International Handbook on Public–Private Partnerships
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International Handbook on Public–Private Partnerships

Edited by Graeme A. Hodge, Carsten Greve and Anthony E. Boardman

In this timely Handbook, leading scholars from around the world explore the challenges presented by infrastructure PPPs, and contemplate what lies ahead as governments balance the need to provide innovative new infrastructure against the requirement for good public governance. This Handbook builds on a range of exciting theoretical lenses that span several disciplinary boundaries. It presents innovative insights and informed perspectives from an international base of empirical evidence.
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Chapter 22: Towards a Process Perspective on Public–Private Partnerships

Guðrið Weihe


Guðrið Weihe Introduction This chapter departs from the observation that public–private partnerships (PPP) have hit the public management agenda globally, that it is widely spread, and that massive public as well as private resources are devoted to the implementation of PPPs. This necessitates and justifies research that addresses how this policy tool functions in practice. Regardless of whatever pros and cons may be associated with PPPs, it is important to understand economic as well as social aspects of cooperation. The latter line of research is, however, currently missing in the PPP literature. Limited scholarly attention has been devoted to the ‘ongoing managerial life of a PPP’ and to the cooperative practice at the micro-level of cooperation (Noble and Jones, 2006). Processes for the ongoing management of PPP are still developing (Clifton and Duffield, 2006, p. 573), and there is limited ‘navigational help’ available for PPP managers who are now experiencing difficulties with managing PPP projects ex post implementation (Reeve and Hatter, 2004, p. 7). This chapter argues for a shift in focus away from the dominating structural and technical perspectives towards a process perspective on PPPs. In this perspective, the patterns of interaction and cooperative practices in implemented projects become the centrepiece of attention. The chapter draws upon related research on another type of partnerships (private–private partnerships/alliances), which suggests that what happens after contracts are signed can have significant performance implications. A few years ago Steve Kelman proclaimed that ‘Public management needs help!’ (Kelman, 2005). The...

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