Title: From Competition to Collaboration: Critical Challenges and Dynamics in Multiparty Collaboration
Author: Sylvia Prins
Journal: The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
Abstract: This article gives a rich and vivid account of a collaborative process in the domain of foster care. Five foster care organizations tried to move from a competitive relationship toward structural collaboration in the interest of foster children and their parents. They engaged in a multistakeholder project, which turned out to be harder than expected. The leading actors struggled with three key issues: constructing a collective goal to establish direction; working with the stakeholders and keeping the interdependent domain as the focus for change; and dealing with the anxiety of an emergent process with an uncertain outcome. The article explores, with the system psychodynamic perspective in mind, which dynamics emerged around those issues. It discusses how the group drifted away from the initial objectives and the intended multistakeholder approach, and how the interests and the survival of the individual organizations started to prevail.