Partnership as conversation: why partnerships are condemned to talk and what they need to talk about

Cornford, James, Wilson, Rob and Baines, Sue (2013) Partnership as conversation: why partnerships are condemned to talk and what they need to talk about. In: Conference on Multi-Organisational Partnerships and Networks (MOPAN) 2013. UNSPECIFIED, Newcastle uponTyne.

[thumbnail of MOPAN 2013 - Cornford et al Final]
PDF (MOPAN 2013 - Cornford et al Final) - Accepted Version
Download (831kB) | Preview


Participants and observers regularly complain that multi-agency partnerships are “talking shops,” engaged in constant discussion which gets in the way of “doing” the work of partnership. In this paper we engage with and criticize this characterization. Drawing on ideas from the Cultural Theory of Mary Douglas, we argue that true multi-agency partnerships are structurally condemned to talk. Instead of criticizing this talk and contrasting it with “doing” we should see it as a critical part of the doing of partnership. We should therefore concentrate on organizing and structuring partnership talk in order to move things forward rather than trying to minimize it. In the second half of the paper we therefore put forward a proposal for how partnership talk should be organized into five “conversations” concerning the principles, policies, processes, practices and politics of partnership. While we can make no predictions for the outcome of these conversations in any given case, we can, we believe, establish some necessary preconditions for effective interaction. We illustrate our arguments drawing on a range of empirical work in education and wider public services reform.

Item Type: Book Section
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Innovation, Technology and Operations Management
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Business and Local Government Data Research Centre (former - to 2023)
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2014 13:34
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2022 16:30


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item