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Collaboration, competition, and co-opetition : interorganizational dynamics between private child welfare agencies and child serving sectors.
Children and Youth Services Review (2014)
  • Alicia C. Bunger, Ohio State University - Main Campus
  • Crystal Collins-Camargo, University of Louisville
  • Bowen McBeath, Portland State University
  • Emmeline Chuang, University of California - Los Angeles
  • Monica Pérez-Jolles
  • Rebecca Wells
Human service agencies are encouraged to collaborate with other public and private agencies in providing services to children and families. However, they also often compete with these same partners for funding, qualified staff, and clientele. Although little is known about complex interagency dynamics of competition and collaboration in the child-serving sector, evidence suggests that competition can undermine collaboration unless managed strategically. This study explores the interrelationship between competition and collaboration, sometimes referred to as “co-opetition.” Using a national dataset of private child and family serving agencies, we examine their relationships with other child serving sectors (N = 4460 pair-wise relationships), and explore how variations in patterns of collaboration and competition are associated with several organizational, environmental and relational factors. Results suggest that most relationships between private child welfare agencies and other child serving agencies are characterized by both competition and collaboration (i.e. “co-opetition”), and is most frequently reported with other local private child welfare agencies. Logistic regression analyses indicate that co-opetition is likely to occur when private child welfare agencies have a good perceived relationship or a sub-contract with their partner. Findings have implications for how agency leaders manage partner relationships, and how public child welfare administrators structure contracts.
  • Collaboration,
  • Competition,
  • Co-opetition,
  • Child welfare agency,
  • Interorganizational relations
Publication Date
March, 2014
Citation Information
Alicia C. Bunger, Crystal Collins-Camargo, Bowen McBeath, Emmeline Chuang, et al.. "Collaboration, competition, and co-opetition : interorganizational dynamics between private child welfare agencies and child serving sectors." Children and Youth Services Review Vol. 38 (2014) p. 113 - 122 ISSN: 0190-7409
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