Project and Process Management of Public-Private Partnerships: Managerial Tensions and Coping Strategies

AuthorAndreas Hagedorn Krogh,Svante Aasbjerg Thygesen
Published date01 November 2022
Date01 November 2022
Subject MatterArticles
Administration & Society
2022, Vol. 54(10) 1993 –2020
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00953997221100393
Project and Process
Management of Public-
Private Partnerships:
Managerial Tensions
and Coping Strategies
Andreas Hagedorn Krogh1
and Svante Aasbjerg Thygesen2
Western governments increasingly use public-private partnerships (PPPs)
to solve complex social problems. This article examines how public
managers handle conflicting demands for classical project management and
collaborative process management in PPPs for preventing negative social
control. Building on theories of public governance, PPP management, and
paradox management, it develops an analytical framework for studying
managerial tensions in PPPs. Applying the framework in a case study of
three Danish PPPs, it shows how partnership managers handle managerial
tensions through strategies of opposition, separation, and synthesis. The
study demonstrates a promising path of integrating paradox management
theory in public governance hybridity research.
public-private partnerships, project management, process management,
paradox management, negative social control, hybrid governance
1Institute for Leadership and Organisation, Royal Danish Defence College, Denmark
2Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University, Denmark
Corresponding Author:
Andreas Hagedorn Krogh, Institute for Leadership and Organisation, Royal Danish Defence
College, Ryvangs Allé 1, Copenhagen Ø, 2100, Denmark.
1100393AAS0010.1177/00953997221100393Administration & SocietyKrogh and Thygesen
1994 Administration & Society 54(10)
Honor-based violence and negative social control in vulnerable communities
is an emergent and intractable problem that attracts increasing political atten-
tion in Western societies (Keskinen, 2011; Mayeda & Vijaykumar, 2016).
Due to its complex and socially embedded nature, governments cannot effec-
tively solve the problem through classical forms of policing (Verhage et al,
2010; Webster, 2015). Instead, they must collaborate with private actors
through various forms of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in order to
develop effective, innovative, and sustainable solutions that enjoy legitimacy
and support from the local community (Crawford & Cunningham, 2015;
Eshareturi et al., 2014; Webster, 2015).
An illustrative case is found in Denmark. In the spring of 2019, the
Ministry of Immigration and Integration funded five municipal PPPs for pre-
venting negative social control in various immigrant communities. Launching
the partnership initiative, the Ministry stressed the need for cross-sector col-
laboration between public authorities and civil society organizations in order
to effectively tackle the emergent, elusive, and inherently complex problem
of negative social control (Ministry of Immigration and Integration [MII],
2019). Through its funding requirements, the Ministry charged the partner-
ships with the ambitious goals of building resilient communities and devel-
oping long-term solutions that enjoyed the support and ownership of local
community actors. At the same time, however, it required the partnership
managers to formulate SMART-goals and detailed plans for obtaining them
within a two years period.
The example goes to illustrate a central managerial clamp in government-
funded PPPs addressing wicked problems of crime and vulnerability. Though
central and local governments increasingly recognize the need for localized
and collaborative processes of mutual trust building and open-minded explo-
ration in developing innovative, legitimate, and tailor-made solutions, they
still expect expedient goal attainment, value-for-money, and performance
efficiency when launching new PPPs (Edelenbos & Klijn, 2009; Weihe,
2008). Public managers of these PPPs thus find themselves caught in the
crossfire between opposing managerial demands. On the one hand, they must
conduct new forms of facilitative process management in order to build com-
munity resilience and broad ownership to robust solutions that fit the dynamic
development of the intrinsically wicked problem (Head & Alford, 2015;
Krogh & Torfing, 2015; Rittel & Webber, 1973). On the other hand, they
must perform classical project management in order to ensure strict financial
control, decisiveness, and speed in the PPP projects (Andrews & Entwistle,
2010; Brinkerhoff & Brinkerhoff, 2011;Van den Hurk et al., 2016; Verhoest
et al., 2015).

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