Thursday, 7 February 2013

Call for papers for MOPAN 2013 at Newcastle University Business School

Multi-Organisational Partnerships, Alliances and Networks (MOPAN 2013)

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The 20th MOPAN conference is to be held on 15 - 17 July 2013 at Newcastle University Business School
Conference Theme - Innovating Relationships in Partnerships, Alliances and Networks
People who work together within organizations are confronted with all sorts of challenges. They have to divide tasks, set rules, design an organizational structure, mediate conflicts, take decisions, change and innovate, develop a strategy, and so forth.
The current societal, economic and technological developments have raised the stakes in terms of interdependency between organisations and these challenges increasing the interest in the inter-organizational domain.
Societal challenges in sectors like ageing, sustainability and social renewal are technically and organizationally complex issues. Such complexity requires a commitment by companies, government agencies, civic organisations and interest groups improve their collaboration skills, governance and structures.
A variety of partnerships, alliances and networks have developed in response to these challenges both within and across the business, government and civil society sectors.  
In a world of increasing interdependencies, driven by real-time information provision, a globally interconnected economy, pressure on vulnerable ecosystems, and complex flows of people, ideas and resources, local problems can take on geopolitical dimensions, and the decisions of multinational corporations can directly affect local populations around the globe.
The complexity of drivers, processes and outcomes at any given place and time makes for wicked problems that confront us with profound uncertainties as to what exactly is happening and where we are heading, and with considerable ambiguity resulting from the broad variety of perspectives brought to bear on these wicked problems.
All of this provides sufficient rationales for engaging in multi-actor collaboration and to invest in joint knowledge creation, in interactive sensemaking, in the integrative negotiation of interests, in adaptive planning etc.
At the same time collaborations can be understood as experiments in social innovation, which are greatly complicated by these uncertain and ambiguous conditions.
While a certain rate of failure is a common and accepted occurrence in developing innovative products or services, for many government-sponsored projects (even pilot projects) official failure is often not an option.  
Innovating relationship in Partnerships, Alliances and Networks raises questions like:
  • What are key innovations affecting inter-organisational relations?
  • How can collaborations recognize and ameliorate problems in relationships?
  • What and how can collaborations learn and innovate from success or failure?
  • Are there innovative ways approaching the designing/re-designing of organisations and collaborations to support improvements in relationships?  
  • What are the appropriate scales for innovation and collaboration in responding to the challenges of societal challenges such as social renewal?
  • How do actors innovate their relation and relationships in specific contexts, and with what effect?
  • What are the role of institutions such as Universities in promoting innovations, brokering partnerships or intervening in relationships in areas as diverse as the co-production of the care of older people to large infrastructure projects such as the Olympics?     

Conference contacts:

Conference lead: Dr Robert Wilson,
Administration support: Ruth Warwick, 

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