Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Exploring partnerships between nonprofit organisations in New Zealand

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posted on 2021-11-13, 22:43 authored by Sutton, Nicola Joy

Nonprofit partnership with government and with business is well documented in the literature. However partnership between nonprofit organisations has largely been ignored. This research focuses on such New Zealand partnerships. It investigates three aspects of partnership: the reasons why organisations partner, the resources they allocate to those partnerships, and the competencies used by the people managing the partnerships. How these three partnership aspects influence each other and the effect of that on the partnerships is also explored.  The study focuses on the ‘partnership’ rather than the ‘co-existence’ end of Craig and Courtney’s (2004) continuum where elements such as working from agreed values, sharing resources and decision making, and developing systems to support the partnership will be evident. Two partnerships were selected as case studies. Data came from semi-structured interviews with seven participants from five partner organisations.  The literature provided a framework for analysing the interview data in relation to the three aspects of partnership. This framework led to the identification of four new motivational factors, two new resource allocations and two new competencies. The literature also provided six theories that help explain partnership motivations.  In addition to the three aspects (motivation, resources, and competencies) of partnership, it became clear that these things made a difference: · the term used to describe what they were doing – collaboration or partnership, · the context, · the presence of trust and goodwill, · voluntary participation in partnership, and · the level of formality.  The findings demonstrated that the motivation to partner at all was the most important of the three aspects of partnership. It influenced resource allocations and the competencies used by partnership managers. Resource allocations did not influence the motivation to partner but influenced the competencies used by the partnership managers. And the competencies used by the partnership managers influenced the resources allocated by organisations but generally did not influence the motivation to partner.  The findings add to our knowledge about nonprofit-nonprofit partnership and will help people to plan partnerships. I also propose five areas for further research: · factors that influence formality, · factors that prevent nonprofit partnership, · role of competencies in motivating partnership, · quantity of resources and the impact on outcomes, and · ownership of intellectual property.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Commerce and Administration

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

910402 Management

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Victoria Management School


Proctor-Thompson, Sarah; Smith, Karen