Business school symposium sees academics debate institutional social partnerships

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Leading academics have discussed at Brunel Business School how to re-design social partnerships as global institutions while contributing to the global social good by delivering policies, programmes and impacts and encouraging the collaboration between institutions and citizens…

The 2nd international symposium on Cross Sector Social Partnerships, organised by BRUNEL BUSINESS SCHOOL’s Research Centre BRESE (Brunel Research on Enterprise, Sustainability, Innovations and Ethics), called for creative approaches to address previous criticisms of cross sector social partnerships. One of the aims was to encourage interaction between academics and practitioners and hence increase the effectiveness of collaborative action.

Prof. Andy Crane, the Symposium chair remarked at the close “we now know how collaboration works; we even understand what the barriers are to positive results from partnerships. However, in order to increase the positive impact of social partnerships we need to employ simultaneously a wide range of existing tools, including institutional and economic analysis, expertise on contracting and mergers, public management and rational choice theory together with more recent tools such as future visioning, while developing new organizational forms. It seems that new skills are required by leaders of the profit, public and nonprofit sectors and it is essential that academics and practitioners get together as well as representatives from different organizations in providing greater positive impact for society”.

The symposium inaugurated the first academic award for the best poster in social partnership sponsored by one of the leading publishing houses in social science research: Routledge Best Poster Award in Social Partnership.

Dr Cheryl Martners, Lecturer in Advertising and Media from The Media School of Bournemouth University, was the first winner of
the award, remarked: “Participating in the symposium has increased my keen interest in the growing field of cross sector social partnerships and strengthened my research interest in the HIV/AIDS cross-sector partnerships of MTV, UNAIDS and UNICEF. I would like to thank Routledge for sponsoring the award and encouraging scholars to think of new ways of conceptualizing and communicating academic work”.

The Senior Commissioning Editor of Routledge Books, Terry Clague commented: “We are delighted for the opportunity to sponsor the first award on social partnership. Collaborative working is an increasingly important area of research and a populated practitioner field in which we have a keen interest. Following this important symposium that brought together leading academics and practitioners in the field we hope to develop a book with cutting edge suggestions combining theory and practice while increasing the impact of academic work for the UK but also internationally”.

Finally, Dr. May Seitanidi, Symposium Coordinator, at Brunel Business School, remarked in her opening presentation: “collaborative working is today an endemic property of our societies. Hence, it is imperative to incorporate social benefit thinking when designing collaborative working solutions and new organisational forms in order to avoid citizen cynicism and decreasing levels of trust to our institutions”.

Prof. Zahir Irani, Head of Brunel Business School remarked: “The symposium participants had the opportunity to explore ways of re-designing social partnerships that can lead to the creation of self-regulating entities whereby businesses, government and nonprofit organisations can monitor and ensure their adherence to laws but also ethical standards that lead to the improved delivery of policy and impact. Brunel Business School has developed a number of initiatives, including an MBA in Health Care Management that seeks to critically examine the role of existing structures, processes and information flows in health care institutions often delivered through partnerships. Our aim as Brunel Business School is to contribute to social wellbeing and community cohesion by delivering high quality education to stimulate reflection and critical thinking in our programmes”.

Academic speakers who presented at the symposium included:

Prof. Andrew Crane from the Schulich School of Business, York University Canada, Prof. Ans Kolk from the University Of Amsterdam, Prof. Rob Van Tulder from Erasmus University, Prof. Hellen Sullivan from the University of Birmingham, Prof. Diana Mangalagiu, from the Reims Management School-France and Oxford University John Balmer from Brunel Business School, Dr. Carlos Rufin Assistant Professor at Suffolk University-Boston, Dr. Miguel Rivera from Babson College-Boston, Dr. Diana Mangalagiu from the University of Oxford, Dr. John Selsky from the USF Politechnique-Florida, Dr Angela Wilkinson from Oxford University, and Dr. May Seitanidi from Brunel University.

Practitioner speakers who presented at the symposium included:

Esther Ridsdale Collaborative Working Development Officer at the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), Simon Parker from the Institute for Government, Lucian Hudson Senior Adviser to the Chief Executive, Marie Curie Cancer Care; Partner and MD, Cornerstone Global Associates.

Further material about the Symposium is available from: