Caught in the crossfire: Managerial tensions in public-private partnerships for preventing negative social control

Andreas Hagedorn Krogh, Svante Aasbjerg Thygesen

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning


n Western societies, honor-based violence and negative social control in vulnerable communities is an emergent and intractable problem that attracts increasing political attention. Due to its complex and socially embedded nature, governments cannot effectively solve the problem through classical forms of policing. Instead, public authorities must collaborate with civil society actors through various forms of public-private partnerships (PPPs). However, while national and local governments increasingly recognize the need for long-term collaboration, trust building and exploration in order to develop effective, innovative and sustainable solutions that enjoy legitimacy and support from the local community, they also expect PPPs to deliver expedient goal attainment and value-for-money. Therefore, public managers of these partnerships find themselves caught in the crossfire between opposing demands. On the one hand, they must perform classical project management in order to ensure strict financial control, decisiveness and speed in the PPP project. On the other hand, they must conduct new forms of facilitative process management in order to build community ressilience and broad ownership to robust solutions that fit the dynamic development of the intrinsically wicked problem.

Previous research has examined whether project management or process management is the most effective in producing perceived outcomes in PPPs. However, little research has been done on the managerial tensions that arise in PPPs where the partnership manager must perform both types of management simoultanously. This paper fills the gap by addressing the research question of how and under which conditions public managers handle conflicting demands for efficient project management and effective process management in PPPs addressing the wicked problem of honor-based violence and negative social control. It contributes to the field of policing with new knowledge on how the police and other public authorities can efficiently and effectively intervene in dynamic and complex forms of crime and vulnerability. It contributes to the wider field of public management with new understandings of the role of public managers in balancing the tensions that arise in hybrid governance regimes where multiple governance paradigms co-exist.

Building on theories of PPP management, meta-governance and paradox management, the paper first develops an analytical framework for studying the tensions between the two management styles and managerial strategies for handling them. Then it applies the framework in a nested case study of partnership management practices in three PPPs for preventing negative social control in immigrant communities in Denmark. The study shows how central government requirements and local socio-political environments produce different levels of managerial tensions in the PPPs and how partnership managers handle the tensions thorugh strategies of opposition, spatial separation, and synthesis.
Publikationsdato22 apr. 2021
StatusUdgivet - 22 apr. 2021
BegivenhedIRSPM Conference 2021 - Public Management, Governance and Policy in Extraordinary Times: Challenges and Opportunities - Online
Varighed: 20 apr. 202123 apr. 2021


KonferenceIRSPM Conference 2021 - Public Management, Governance and Policy in Extraordinary Times: Challenges and Opportunities

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