Merging Institutional Logics and Negotiated Culture Perspectives to Help Cross-Sector Partnerships Solve the World’s Most Wicked Problems

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SARAH EASTER
Abilene Christian University
MARY YOKO BRANNEN
University of Victoria

Showcasing a sixteen-month ethnographic study of a coalition to end homelessness in Western Canada, we show how the integration of two theoretical perspectives—institutional logics and negotiated culture—can be used as complementary, yet distinct lenses to better inform the practice of cross sector partnerships which tackle the world’s wicked problems. In doing so, we highlight how we were able to holistically capture the meaning systems at work in such multi-faceted partnerships resulting in a better understanding of how partnerships can work across difference to affect positive social change. In particular, we capture how multiple stakeholders make sense of a partnership’s identity in a variety of different ways based upon meaning systems with which they identify at multiple levels as well as how they enact bridging skills across meaning-related boundaries to promote more effective partner interface.

Keywords: cultural dynamics, negotiated culture, institutional logics, cross sector partnerships

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