Next Article in Journal
Interactions between People and Breadfruit in Hawai’i: Consumption, Preparation, and Sourcing Patterns
Next Article in Special Issue
‘A Nut We Have Officially yet to Crack’: Forcing the Attention of Athletic Departments Toward Sustainability Through Shared Governance
Previous Article in Journal
Family Farms, Agricultural Productivity, and the Terrain of Food (In)security in Ethiopia
Previous Article in Special Issue
Modelling Organisational Factors Influencing Sustainable Development Implementation Performance in Higher Education Institutions: An Interpretative Structural Modelling (ISM) Approach
Open AccessArticle

Cross-Sector Collaboration in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs): A Critical Analysis of an Urban Sustainability Development Program

Department of Education and Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, 14195 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4982; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184982
Received: 16 May 2019 / Revised: 28 August 2019 / Accepted: 29 August 2019 / Published: 12 September 2019
In the last years, a shift in the promotion of sustainable development in Higher Education from a focus on universities’ core areas of teaching and research to “whole institution approaches” with an emphasis on the operational management of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) can be observed in different countries. With the aim to foster sustainability, HEIs have increasingly built cross-sectoral networks, involving not only academics but also practitioners in order to relate sustainability not only to research but also to outreach activities. Although there is an increasing body of literature evaluating such initiatives according to supposedly objective management criteria and indicators, there is still a lack of studies that investigate how the social meaning of knowledge production is (re-)negotiated in and through these partnerships. In this article, we analyze how individuals engaged in a cross-sector partnership make sense of the organizational dilemmas and ambiguities that stem from the complexity of working together across sectors in pursuit of an integrative approach to knowledge production. With the term “sector” we refer to the professional affiliations of the individuals involved in the partnerships, e.g., higher education, administration, formal education or non-governmental organizations. We focus on an illustrative cross-sectoral partnership: The Institute for Sustainable Urban Development (ISU), a collaborative project between Malmö University and Malmö’s city administration to facilitate research and planning collaborations between both organizations in respect to furthering sustainable urban (re-)development and higher education in Malmö, Sweden. By employing a constant comparative approach based on Grounded Theory to analyze data collected with focus groups, semi-structured qualitative interviews and document analysis, we claim that rather than entering a partnership with predefined identities, values and sectoral or professional preferences, individuals engage in a narrative struggle about the organizational character of their partnership. Accordingly, an important avenue for investigating cross-sector partnerships is to explore the constructive dilemma of different organizing principles in a cross-sector partnership, and the way people negotiate the boundaries between them. For the cross-sector partnership studied the constructive dilemma for those engaging in it was to separate and link project, organizational and network organizing principles in their work. Implementing whole institutions approaches in order to promote sustainable development in and through HEIs, would accordingly profit much from a deeper analytical investigation of the process of navigating professional identities and organizational narrative(s) in boundary-spanning, cross-sector partnerships. View Full-Text
Keywords: higher education institutions (HEIs); cross-sector collaboration; multi-professional collaboration; transdisciplinary research; narrative analysis; sensemaking; whole institution approach; organizational networks; constant comparative analysis higher education institutions (HEIs); cross-sector collaboration; multi-professional collaboration; transdisciplinary research; narrative analysis; sensemaking; whole institution approach; organizational networks; constant comparative analysis
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Mehling, S.; Kolleck, N. Cross-Sector Collaboration in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs): A Critical Analysis of an Urban Sustainability Development Program. Sustainability 2019, 11, 4982. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184982

AMA Style

Mehling S, Kolleck N. Cross-Sector Collaboration in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs): A Critical Analysis of an Urban Sustainability Development Program. Sustainability. 2019; 11(18):4982. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184982

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mehling, Sebastian; Kolleck, Nina. 2019. "Cross-Sector Collaboration in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs): A Critical Analysis of an Urban Sustainability Development Program" Sustainability 11, no. 18: 4982. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184982

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop