Learning within and between public-private partnerships
Sammanfattning: Local and national governments face increasing demands for modern, high-quality public services. To meet these challenges, a growing number of public organisations has, in the past few decades, ventured into public-private partnerships (PPP), a novel approach to improving public services by using the expertise accumulated in the private sector. Given that PPPs are often established for complex infrastructure projects, which may last for several decades and involve considerable investment from the partners, learning both within and between public-private partnerships is of utmost importance.Triangulation is employed in this dissertation to explore who learns, what is learned and how learning occurs in PPPs. Three case studies from Estonia and Sweden provide the main empirical insight into the topic. In addition, findings from expert interviews carried out at the European Investment Bank and a pan-European database of over 800 PPPs are compared with the case study results.The dissertation finds that public-private partnerships challenge existing theories on organisational learning because learning dynamics in PPPs take a different form than that found in strategic alliances. Organisational learning in public-private partnerships can be understood as occurring on five interrelated levels, each of which is characterised by a specific set of indicators put forward in this dissertation. The indicators take into account the creation and development of routines, flexibility, absorption of new knowledge, and informal learning. A managerial implication of the study is that institutional support for learning is likely to remain in the shadow of private sector consultancies unless the role of the PPP knowledge centres is rethought.
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