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1 INTERNAL COMMUNICATION PROCESSES OF MULTI SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS FOR DEVELOPMENT: AN IN DEPTH EXAMINATION OF ONE COSTA RICAN INTERMEDIARY ORGANIZATION By MONICA MORALES LISAC A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 Monica Morales Lisac
3 To Him, w ho brought me here, guided me held my hand every step of the way and now holds the key to my future My life could not be in better hands
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Where to begin? I would be lying if I said this is the product of my own work, but the truth is there are many people who have contributed to my being here. My family back in Costa Rica thank you for believing in me; for enduring the distance and separation for the sake of my dream. Mami, P api y Dani, no puedo poner en palabras el amor y profundo agradecimiento que tengo hac ia u stedes, de verdad que no hay forma de expresarles lo que hay en mi corazn. My GCF family, no one understood me better than you. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and for helping me take a break when I needed one. I have found true friends in side this group and I will be forever grateful for that. The O House, you made this entire experience much more valuable than I anticipated, my life in Gainesville would not have been the same without you. With you I found a home, away from home. To my a mazing thesis committee: Dr. Molleda, Dr. Kelly and Prof. Christiano. It has be en an honor working with you, and I feel truly blessed to have learned from such wonderful professionals and individuals. Thank you for your guidance and mentoring in this proce ss.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 9 Defining Multi sector Partnerships for Development ................................ ............... 13 Traditional Partnerships ................................ ................................ .................... 14 Partnerships for Development ................................ ................................ .......... 15 Multi sector partnerships for development in the United States of America ............ 17 100KIN10 ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 18 UNITY through Violence Prevention ................................ ................................ 19 Welcoming America ................................ ................................ ......................... 2 0 ................................ ................................ ................. 21 From Corporate Social Responsibility to Multi sector Partnerships for Development ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 22 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 25 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 28 Communication in Development ................................ ................................ ............. 34 Modernization Paradigm ................................ ................................ ................... 37 Diffusion of innovations theory ................................ ................................ ... 41 Dependency paradigm ................................ ................................ ............... 42 Participatory Communication Theory ................................ ............................... 43 Multi Sector Partnerships ................................ ................................ ........................ 47 Antecedent Factors for Multi sector Partnerships ................................ ............. 47 Sector Partnerships ................................ ........................ 50 Communication in a Multi Sector Partnership ................................ .................. 54 About Aliarse: A Costa Rican Nonprofit ................................ ................................ .. 56 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 59 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 61 About the Researcher ................................ ................................ ............................. 62 Design ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 62 Sample ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 65 Validity ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 67 Data Gatheri ng Procedures ................................ ................................ .................... 68 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 69
6 4 FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 71 ................................ .............. 71 The Seven Cs of Collaboration ................................ ................................ ............... 76 Creation of Value ................................ ................................ .............................. 77 Commitment ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 80 Connection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 82 Clarity of Purpose and Congruency ................................ ................................ .. 83 Communication ................................ ................................ ................................ 85 Participatory Communication in Multi Sector Partnerships ................................ ..... 90 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 94 Partnerships ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 96 Conclusions and Theoretical Implications ................................ ............................. 101 Research Limitations ................................ ................................ ............................ 103 Suggestions for Future Research ................................ ................................ ......... 104 APPENDIX A INTERVIEW GUIDE FOR ALIARSE REPRESENTATIVES ................................ 106 B GUA DE ENTREVISTA PARA COLABORADORES Y ADMINISTRADORES DE ALIARSE ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 107 C INTERVIEW GUIDE FOR FOUNDING MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS AND REGULAR MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS OF ALIARSE ................................ ....... 108 D GUA DE ENTREVISTA PARA MIEMBROS FUNDADORES Y MIEMBROS REGULARES DE ALIARSE ................................ ................................ .................. 109 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 111 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 115
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 1 Sample Demographic ................................ ................................ ......................... 66
8 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication INTERNAL COMMUNICATION PROCESSES OF MULTI SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS FOR DEVELOPMENT: AN IN DEPTH EXAMINATION OF ONE COSTA RICAN INTERMEDIARY ORGANIZATION By Monica Morales Lisac May 2012 Chair: Juan Carlos Molleda Major: Mass Communication Mu lti sector partnerships, also called public private partnerships, are a quickly becoming one of the most sought after forms of collaboration. The problems that governments are facing have become too intricate and overwhelming for a single organization, pub lic or private, to take on by itself. This study aims to analyze the internal communication processes of multi sector partnerships for development by focusing on the work that a Costa Rican organization is doing. When working with multiple actors from publ ic, private, and nonprofit sectors communication is key to secure an effective and efficient management of the partnerships. Through the use of a qualitative approach, in depth interviews were conducted in order to discover what communication tools and st rategies this organization was using and how successful they were. The study uses three main theoretical frameworks: communitarian public relations, communication in development, and theory developed around multi sector partnerships, namely the seven Cs of collaboration.
9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The interconnectedness of the world we live in is undeniable. With every passing day, newer and better ways to stay connected are developed. The business world is constantly looking for mor e efficient ways to manage its operations internationally, and the communication industry strives to make the most of the emergent technologies to target more segm ented audiences. H owever, as Amir Dossal (2004), executive d irector for the United Nations Fund s globalization and information technologies draw the peoples of the world closer, so do they knit together social, econ levels of connectivity are palpable in the realities that, not only industries, but countries experience today. The geographical borders amo ng countries have been blurred o n the maps of the commercial world; and with them, t he social issues of the nations have also spread throughout the map. The prosperity this transnational development has brought to some regions has also represented the deepening of critical economic and social situ ations for others. Disease and poverty have spread throughout the world at an alarmingly fast pace, and the social gap between the rich and the poor is far from being breached. The issues range from social to economic, environment to health, and education to employment. What once were clearly defined roles for the private, public, and civil society sectors are increasingly shared by all three. This collective responsibility has led to the creation of short term alliances and long term partnerships that aim to address the social, economic, and political issues together. Dossal (2004) also stated that this phenomenon became more popular starting in the 1980s, when the blending of
10 responsibilities brought about an increase in the number of civil society organiz ations. These were attempting to provide a solution to the critical social problems the nations were experiencing, by working alongside the government and private sector s When talking about civil society it is important to define the term before we proce ed. Dutta Bergman (2005) states that civil society can, and has been, interpreted in many different ways, depending on the circumstances in which it is used. It has also evolved from being a synonym for a political society in the eighteenth century, to a m ore modern interpretation as everything that happens outside the realm of the State (Kumar, 1993). This particular research will understand civil society as the collective citizenship that is independent from the private and public sectors; namely nonprofi t organizations and regular citizens that execute they right to voice their opinions and concerns. The social issues that were notorious in the 1980s are still relevant today. Governments are struggling to fulfill their obligations and to attend t o t he ne cessities of their citizens. The necessities of their nations are more than they have the time, resources, and expertise to address adequately or effectively. A report by the State of the Nation Region Program in 2008, presented relevant data on this subje ct. Specifically in Central America, there is still a strong dependency on imported food, an irony in a highly agricultural region with the capacity to export great variety of products. Approximately 40 percent of Central Americans are living in poverty, despite the fact that social spending was increased in comparison to the data in 2003. Even more s to be a struggle for citizens, 41 percent of jobs in the region have been classified as low
11 productivity and low income, making it harder for individuals and families who turn to employment as a means of climbing the social and economic ladder. According to Kolka, van Tulderb, and Kostwinderc (2008), it was since the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development held at Johannesburg, that multi sector partnerships became much more important on a global scale. The private (business) and nonprofit (i.e., non government organizations, foundations, civil society) sectors have taken on the task of addressing the issues that are undermining the sustainability and development of their countries. By coming together, they are attempting to alleviate the pressure on the government and, at the same time, address the nationwide problems. A unilateral effort from the government is not enough, the challenges are too big and far too many. Caeque (2008) clearly established that; even though there is a strong public respons ibility to address these issues, their multidimensional quality requires a set of actions that cannot be put forward unilaterally by the government. Part of the reason why the public institutions are incapable of single handedly resolving the social proble ms in their countries is because many of them have been caused by ent public policy making, and a lack of resources and the public office. C ardona and Sariego (2010) contributed to this argument by stating (p. 4).
12 Multi sec tor partnerships for development are born as an answer to the multitude of social issues that are calling sectors might try to address the issues they consider more pressing or relevant; however, single efforts can only do so much. Even more, they risk the chance of clashing or overlapping with similar efforts from other organizations. These well intentioned efforts will result in less than ideal outcomes, leaving the organizations disappointed or frustrated (Stott, 2008). The resources and time can be maximized when the different sectors come together, merging their efforts and working towards a shared goal. In the quest for a more inclusive approach several private and public entities have starte d to partner with the hopes of working together towards a shared goal. Their efforts have led them to the creation of multi sector partnerships for development, and with it the surge of a new actor in the process: intermediary organizations. Also called usually nonprofit, take over the coordination and direction of multi sector partnerships for development. While collaboration between multiple organizations from different se ctors can occur without the aid of a support system, the opportunities for success are much higher with the intervention of an intermediary organization. The United Nations (UN) has also acknowledged the relevance and significance of these partnerships an d created the UN Office for Partnerships. The UN stand s by the of business, the capital of philanthropy, and the rigor of the marketplace, partnerships can develop and deliver system 2).The
13 European Commission, in their report titled Guidelines for successful public private partnerships was very clear in stating that these types of alliances are, by no means, the panacea other approaches, [and it can be assured that there will be] an effective implementation 003, p. 4). Defining Multi sector Partnerships for Development This form of collaboration has pri marily focused on addressing concerns. They are created with the purpose of bolstering the individual assets each sector has, in hopes of cr eating a more strategic and effective approach to the problem areas that have been identified. Unifying the qualities and expertise of the participating members will immediately result in an increase of the resources and competencies available. Dossal (200 contributes to the long a more integr Ros Tennyson (as cited in Stott, 2008) Director of The Partnering Institute, argued that these types of alliances were meant to be rom my perspective, good alliances are innovative: if an allia nce is not creating something new, then why bo p. 3, translation by author) However, if such innovation is to happen there needs to be a good dose of planning and strategy involved, as well as a shared set of objectives. Dossal (2004) argued that c reativity and rationality have to coexist in order to strike a positive outcome. He argued,
14 P ublic/private partnerships require a balance of idealism and pragmatism, creative vision and managed expectations, pooled resources and willingness to compromise. But a well executed partnership will help both business and individuals (p. 11) Before going into any further detail about how these partnerships operate, it is imperative to establish an operational definition for the concept of multi sector partnerships for development. T here are numerous ways of referring to a certain way of doing something ; however, in essence the approach remains the same regardless of what it is called. In the area of partnerships between two or more sectors, one can fin d in the literature two main forms of addressing this phenomenon, each slightly different from the other, and at the same time sharing some common elements. Traditional Partnerships Also known as public private partnerships (Cardona & Sariego, 2010, Casa do, 2008; Dilger & Findeisen, n.d.) or strategic alliances (Berger, Cunningham, & Drumwright ,2004) t his model follows a more business can be employed to address a vari ety of issues, beyond those of a social kind. They are generally tight legal contractual alliances with a rigorous vertical hierarchy and accountability systems. There is few to no participation from social members and everything is designed within a stric t management by objectives setting (Casado, 2008). Additionally, Berger et al. nonprofit sectors (p. 2). In ot her words, any type of business alliance, whether it is temporary or with a long term purpose, that works for an objective other than social development falls under the category of a traditional partnership. There is no limit as to how many businesses or
15 o rganizations can participate or whether it must involve various sectors or industries; there is, however, a limitation to a very low or no involvement on behalf of any social agents namely nonprofit organizations Partnerships for Development These are often referred to as public private partnerships for development (Cardona & Sariego, 2010; Casado, 2008), tripartite partnerships (Kolka et al., 2008), or social alliances (Berger et al., 2004). The main difference between partnerships for development and traditional partners hips rests on the objective for which they are created. When partnerships for development are formed, there is an inherent ly social issue to be addressed. T his means there will always be a significant participation from social agents, l ike non governmental organizations (NGOs) or civil society organizations. Whether this will involve two or more members from various sectors or industries becomes secondary. Additionally, Cardona and Sariego (2010) emphasize d the use of a sustainable devel opment strategy as the overarching framework to guide the actions within a multi sector partnership for development. In the case of social alliances, Berger et al. (2004) establish ed that the transition between a strategic and a social alliance is complete when a) there is an active involvement from a nonprofit partner and b) there is a combination of both economic and non economic objectives d riving the programs, meaning that focus on Kolka et al.(2008) mad e a particular distinction that not many other authors make, namely tripartite partnerships are composed of three distinct members: government, pr ivate sector and nonprofit sector each one with
16 NGOs the local embeddedness and contacts, and supporting activities such as training and capacity building, while the governm ent supplies funding, usually to reduce risks, 7). It could be disputed that said division of roles answers more to a qualification of the different members, as opposed to a responsibility imposed on them. From a mana gement perspective, there is a shared responsibility amongst the parties involved, in the same way that they operate within a horizontal distribution of work and authority. These partnerships operate under a legal framework; however it is much more flexib le than the one under which traditional partnerships op erate There are usually less restrictions and regulations internally, allowing members to cooperate freely with each other, thus furthering the synergy of resources and expertise. Compromise and colla boration are two strong components of partnerships for development. This is a situation where sectors that would normally have clearly different objectives are now working together to attain a single, shared goal. It is imperative that they put aside perso nal interests and work with the end product or beneficiary as a main motivating factor. It is, the refore, after a careful study of the literature that for the purpos e of this study, the term multi sector partnerships for development (MSPD) will be utilized for t he remaining of this paper The term will refer to those forms of collaboration that involve representatives from at least two different sectors. This form of c ollaboration will have a clear understanding that the overarching principle a nd motivation will be the need to address a social problem in the country where these organizations operate.
17 As it was mentioned before, it must be clear that multi sector partner ships for development are not the antidote to all social issues in the world. As Dossal (2004) put it P artnerships cannot be a patchwork quilt of well meaning intentions and ideas sewn together. They require nurturing, compromises, re assessment. And maybe most of all, patience. Partnership building is generally not a speedy process but it can be a very effective and rewarding endeavor. (p.8) About this same matter, Sagawa and Segal (1999) said that these partnerships require on, and wil l. But [they are] an opportunity that our nation cannot afford to 5). Multi sector partnerships for development in the United States of America This collaboration form is not exclusive to a particular country or culture. It has been adopted b y many countries, the United States (US) not being the exception. The United States has been a pioneer in the development and growth of the public relations profession and, in many ways, has set the tone for the execution of public relations in Latin Ameri ca (Molleda, 2001). Despite the fact that this research focuses on the reality of a small, Latin American country, a significant portion of the literature reviewed comes from American scholars; it is only appropriate to showcase some of the multi sector pa rtnerships for development which take place on American ground and that are The following are three examples of MSPD that currently operate in the United States at a national scale. In no way does this se lection intends to be exclusive, however these collaborations represent the essence of what multi sector partnerships are about.
18 100KIN10 Operating since January 2011 this movement was created to address the need for qualified STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) teachers across the country. More precisely, their objective is to train 100.000 teachers by the year 2021, hence the name 100KIN10. sector partner organizations unified by a sin gle ambitious goal: to prepare all students with the high quality STEM knowledge and skills needed to address our most pressing national and 3) and to this date their partner organizations include corporations, museums, institutes of higher education, foundations, states, nonprofit organizations, school districts and professional associations. Amongst the partners are some prestigious names such as Intel, NASA, Stanford Teacher Education Program, The Woodrow Wilson Nation al Fellowship Foundation, Michigan State College of Education, Museum of Science and Industry to name a few. This MSPD is has developed a strong platform overseen by the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute (UEI), here all candidate partners a re evaluated to quality commitments and a capacity to in such a way that not only does it provide the teachers needed, but it al so ensures the continuity of the program through a series of actions that retain the qualified teachers is developing a learning and R&D infrastructure, as well as tools for 100Kin10 partners to measure the quality a nd impact of their commitments implementation of 100KIN10 are shared with all the partners as learning resources to better the program as whole.
19 The challenges that arise from orchestrating such a long term and ambitious project are numerous, which is precisely the reason why the collaboration of several organizations from different backgrounds is necessary to ensure the best outcome possible. The objective of training 100,000 teachers is fa r larger than any single entity can tackle, and it is a social issue that affects a multitude of industries and organizations both in the public and private sector. Therefore a collaboration of this type is the ideal solution. UNITY through Violence Preve ntion Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth (UNITY) has been working since 1). Led by the Prevention Institute and in collaboration with the Harvard School of Behavioral Sciences, the initiative partners with the main cities in the US to promote coll 1). The work developed by UNITY has two main approaches, one is the development, implementation and evaluation of th e prevention efforts; the second is raising awareness about the need for violence prevention and setting the stage so that the communities suffering from this epidemic can execute the programs aimed at creating peaceful and secure environments for the yout h. Both these approaches and locations at greatest risk, identify risk and resilience factors, and develop and utilize
20 effective strategies to prevent violence before it occurs, and to reduce the impact of risk Prevention is a smart approach for MSPD because it focuses their work on eliminating the problem instead of trying to deal with the consequen ces of the issue. Again, violence is a reality that all major cities deal with on a daily basis and it is a social concern that is too big for any single organization to address effectively. Welcoming America The final example for MSPDs in the United States deals with the issue of immigration, prejudices and racial discrimination. Immigration has become a priority subject in the last decade, especially with the increasing rate at which this population is growing. Statistics show that by 2005 one in eig ht Americans was an immigrant; this history of immigration before such as Nashville, Boise and Omaha ( n.d. ) because they target the communities where immigrants are settling down, and work to teach the residents that were born in the US to appreciate and value their immigrant neighbors. The initiative is adopted by a state, and then each state works to create sa community [develops] a distinctive multi sector approach with a substantial partnership Our Affiliates, 2) Each state that joins the network uses a three pronged approach (local leadership development, strategic communications, and public engagement) to positively impact the community where it is operating, and encourage immigrants to 1)
21 From the three examples, Welcoming America was the only one which proved to have a strong emphasis on strategic communication, an important element shown by the literature review. These three examples shed light on the varied types of multi sector partnerships for development and multiplicity of approaches that can be taken to address a particular social issue. However they all share the understanding that together they are stronger and have a better chance at having a positive effect on the situation they are trying to correct, hence their emphasis on collaborating with different entities, industries and sectors. As a Costa Rican studying in the United States th e researcher had a particular interest in developing a study that would be relevant to her country. Particularly, it was important to have an approach that would provide insight to the theme of multi sector partnerships for development, a thriving form of collaboration in Costa Rica. This and Costa Rica history of prioritizing its social work and investment motivated the study Even during times of economic hardship, such as World War II when it lost almost 50 percent of its export market, the government cho se to invest in social reforms, such as : established (1941), Social Guarantees were written into the Constitution (1942), and a almer, 1998 pp. 88 89). The presidential race for the 2010 2014 term was filled with speeches that emphasized the importance of social investment for Costa Rica. The main presidential candidates dedicated whole sections of their political platforms to spe ll out their proposals to better
22 the social conditions in the country. (Plan de Gobierno, n.d.; Partido Accin Ciudadana, n.d. ) When the ultimate goal is to eradicate the social problems that threaten Costa ll a considerable amount of work to be done. A report by the Programa Estado de la Nacin ( 2010; State of the Nation behalf of the government to attend to these problem a reas. When analyzed in relationshi p to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) the public social spending index in 2009 was 23.4 percent, 3.3 percent higher than the amount registered a year earlier. However, the same report indicated that despite the admirable social spending, the current economic situation is creating a bigger social disparity that even the high levels of social investment cannot reverse. Poverty, limited access to education, unemployment, and the issue of sustainable environment management are still pressing issues in the daily agenda of the Costa Rican government and its citizens. From Corporate Social Responsibility to Multi sector Partnerships for Development Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs grew exponentially around the mid 1990s in Costa Rica. Businesses we re adopting the worldwide trend and understanding that it was something they had to do, or else their very sustainability as a business could be jeopardized. Initially viewed as a mere requirement t o fulfill in order to ap pease public opinion, CSR is now an intrinsic part of the corporate strategies of local and international companies operating in Costa Rica It is an investment that contributes to the competitiveness factor of the organizations. (Mass, 2009).
23 There has b een a struggle to define corporate social responsibility in a way that is universally accepted. However, there is a general consensus that the concept covers a in five general dimensions: environmental, social, economic, stakeholder a nd voluntariness dimension. (Dalhsrud, 2008). A company that looks to implement a CSR strategy must take these components into account. Usually the programs have taken the form of donations, sponsorships or volunteering projects, and companies from all ind ustries, sizes, and management styles have implemented successful CSR efforts and have benefited from them. Nonetheless, it has come to the attention of the directors of said strategies that their companies, alone, do not have the resources and expertise t o tackle the problems they have been working on. This has driven them to reach out to other organizations that can (and will) join the cause and work together to bring about change. For a country the size of Costa Rica, there is an enviable number of organ izations wor king to create successful multi sector partnerships for development. The government has started to open up more, agreeing to collaborate in situations where its ffect change. Private businesses have stepped out o f their bottom line focused strategies and started to care abo ut the communities and publics they interact with; it is about the money, but also about the people and the environment. And NGOs now have the support of two driving forces in the country, priva te and public support, in order to put forth a series of projects that have been dormant, waiting for the resources to become available. It is in this context that multi sector value, reduce and manage risks, and strengthen the democracy and governance of
24 there are several cases such as the Fundacin Omar Dengo (Omar Dengo Foundation) that was partnered with e quality of the education and promote by author ). This MSPD has reached schools all over the country and has provided them with computer l abs where students, and faculty can enhance their knowledge about the use information technologies. Another example is Fundacin Accin Jven (Young Action Foundation), which reco gnized an untapped source in community services that colleges require for graduation. Generally a student m ust comply with a set amount of time between 150 and 300 hours in order to be able to graduate successfully. This Fundacin Accin Jven improvements in the quality of public educatio n, utilizing the volunteering projects, with the purpose of endowing young people with opportunities that allow them to fulfill their (Quines somos, n.d., 1, translation by author) T here are two main organizations that focus on facilitating MSPDs in Costa Rica. One works closely with the private sector, focusing on enriching their CSR strategies and aligning their business and social strategies; it is called Asociacin Empresarial para el Desarrollo (AED, Business Association for Development). The other organization is Aliarse organizations emp hasize strongly the need for develop ment programs to be sustainable
25 strategy, working in line with the objectives the government has set in the different areas of the social spectrum. Founded in June of 2007, Aliarse is the result of the joining of several national and international private sector businesses, as well as key public institutions. Members represent diverse industries from technology, tourism, banking and finance, public services, health, foo d, and transportation to name a few. Aliarse works specifically to target five main socia l areas in Costa Rica : education and professional development, public and occupational health, environment, local development, and social responsibility. For the purp ose of this research, Aliarse will be used as the focal point of the study. Its initiatives, as well as the response from all public, private and nonprofit sector s, indicate that its work is successful and of great valu e to the country. Aliarse has managed to create a basis of knowledge about multi sector partnerships for development and share it with their members and interested parties; while at the same time orchestrating strategically planned alliances to promote change in particular areas that require attention. Purpose of the Study On the one hand, this study aims to identify and analyze the internal communication programs of nonprofit organizations involved in the promotion and development of multi sector partnerships, which includes the participation of private, public, and civil society institutions. On the other hand, the study also seeks to uncover and analyze the internal communication efforts within an established multi sector partnership. It is the intention of the researcher to study the aforem entioned communication strategies through a qualitative methodology using the Costa Rica n
26 nonprofit organization Aliarse as an example of this type of organizations. The theoretical perspectives of development communication and the communitarian approach t o public relations will be used to conceptualize the study. In particular, the approaches of development communication such as the concepts of modernization, social marketing, participatory communication and empowerment (Melkote, 2003), will serve as a le ns with which to examine the current communication practices of Aliarse By establishing a comparison between the theoretical foundation and the current co mmunication practices of Aliarse it will be possible to determine whether the style employed is the best, or whether there is room for improvement. The study is focusing on internal communication only. This includes the communication from the organization to the member organizations and the communication processes within the multi sector partnerships t hat are created thanks to the promotion and coordination Aliarse does. In the same sense, an inward focus to the study means that any outward communication efforts, namely media, community or the like, have not been included in the analysis. Not for a lack of interest or relevance, but simply with intention of focusing on a particular aspect of the communication, before diluting the resources available for this particular research and taking the risk of ending up with inconclusive results. This particular research will first address the general aspects of multi sector partnerships for development in the universal setting, and then zoom in on the reality of these alliances in Costa Rica. In the second chapter, the proposed methodology will be discussed and the analysis of results will be presented. A third chapter will make a revision of the relevant existing literature, in hopes of creating a strong framework on
27 which to build the cu rrent research. The presentation of results will take place in the fourth chapter, focusing on the relationship between the research questions proposed and the results fou nd by the researcher. The fifth, and final chapter will discuss what the results say about the management of communications processes and the relevance to Alia rse. It will also present the main conclusions, as well as limitations experience in this study, and recommendations for further study.
28 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter will address the different theoretical frameworks that will serve in the analysis of the communication processes of Aliarse. Each section covers a particular theory that is relevant to multi sector partnerships for development and the manageme nt of communications within them. The Communitarian Approach of Public Relations The first theoretical approach that concerns the development of this research has to do with the communitarian approach of public relations. There has never been any uncertai nty regarding the social and interactive nature of public relations; however, there is some discussion regarding the way to go about establishing relationships with different publics. This section will present the different arguments for the use of the con viewing, and relating to, those groups of people that affect and are affected by the work of the organizations public relations practitioners represent. It is important before go ing any further into the relationship between communities and public relations that we create a clear definition of what is meant by a community. Hallahan (2004) made an initial distinction between geographic communities and symbolic communities. The first refers to a more traditional understanding of the word community; it includes those groups of people that are in close, physical proximity to the composed of groups which have a connection to the organization at some level, other than physical. In this category you would include those people with financial, emotional, ideological, or political ties to the organization. Since the term community is
29 commonplace in public relations d iscourse, there is a tendency to interpret the concept as a geographic community and suppose that some of the other groups of people are part of that geographic community as well. These types of assumptions are dangerous as they could lead to misinterpreta tions and result in the unintended neglect of some groups, hence, the importance of clearly establishing the difference and stating what is meant by community in each case. The Chicago School of thought, presented by Kruckeberg and Starck (1988), put for ward a set of ideas about how a community is composed by arguing, among other things, that people in a community occupy an identifiable geographic location, develop a particular culture, and that individuals participate in the common life of the community people that public relations aims to engage with. A strong dist inction is made between The theoretical argument is that community is a broader and richer concept compared to publics, the accepted focus of most public relations theory Hallahan explained (2004, p. 234) Despite the murkiness of its definition, it does a better job at portraying the essence and diversity of public relations practice. to refer to a multiplici ty of concepts. Depending on the context, it can refer to be as general or as specific as the author wants it to be. In a time when interest groups
30 can be exceptionally sp ecific in terms of their characteristics, needs and wants, the use of a generic term like public presents strong disadvantages. construction of a public is done by the organi particular group of people (Hallahan, 2004). As a one sided description, it assumes that individuals grouped under one category are connected to one another by their sharing of a particular interest or quality, when in real life, this is not the case. 2004, p. 243). This already establishes a pre existing link between the members of a group since what has brought them together is a shared experience, as opposed to a shared characteristic. People come together to form a community out of a desire to belong, and they exist without any regard for a particular o rganization or problem. Communities are self identifying and develop independent of the fact that any external force acknowledges them or not (Hallahan, 2004). Public relations has much to offer in the development of communities. Not only that, but the p ractice itself could benefit greatly from a stronger emphasis on communitarian public relations, as opposed to the traditional client focused practice. Hallahan (2004) argued that using community in the exercise of public relations was relevant on two leve at the pragmatic level, a focus on community links public relations to a widely accepted and valued idea in society a concept that is receiving continuing attention in academe (p. 264) ; and secondly, from a theoretical standpoint, community is a rich and versatile construct, and therefore more useful construct than
31 public a concept that severely constricts theorizing and defies application in public relations (p. 264) Community is a concept that everyone can relate to, people want to be a part of a community. As such, the idea of communitarian public relations makes Scholars have argued that the p ractice of public relations could greatly benefit from an emphasis on community and community development (Hallahan, 2004; Kruckeberg & Starck, 1988; Leeper, 1996). Currently, community relations is one of the most important and commonly practiced areas of public relations and there is evidence to show that it will only become a bigger trend in business (Kruckeberg & Starck, 1988; Leeper, 1996). While this growing interest about communities was triggered by the need to comply with government regulations (Le eper, 1996), every day more and more organizations realize the importance of engaging with different communities. Additionally, people are expecting organizations to develop and act upon a heightened sense of social responsibility (Kruckeberg & Starck, 198 8); this adds pressure on the requests or ignoring them, at the risk of it negatively affecting the organization. In their position as counsel to top management, it is publi relationship with communities and make it a beneficial one for both the organization and the community members. Kruckeberg and Starck (1988) were avid proponents of the communitarian approach to public relations. They bel public relations is better defined and practiced as the active attempt to restore and maintain a sense of community. Only with
32 this goal as a primary objective can public relations become a full partner in the information and communication milie u that forms the lifeblood of U.S. society and, to a growing extent, the world (p. xi) This means that public relations has a double Starck, 1994, p. xii), while al so keeping in mind that every community is part of a larger community called society and humankind. Leeper (1996) suggested that guided by this argument, the relationship between community and organization is not one of simple dependence but inter dependenc e. This means that there is an understanding of how ones actions affect the other, thus encouraging the cultivation of that which is in the best interest of both parts. The adoption of a communitarian attitude towards public relations pushes organization s and practitioners to move out of a relationship framework where the organization is doing something to the audiences, but instead understands that the potential to create and further a sense of community. It should be a program designed to encourage and preserve a healthy environment in which organizations and communities benefit from one another. This would mean that it is not a reaction but a conscious decision on behalf of the organization that is acted out through a strategic and well thought out plan. Hallahan (2004) identified three different ways of approaching community building, he named them community involvement, community nurturing, and community organizing. E ach one interacts with the community on different levels and produces varying degrees of engagement between organization and community members. These
33 connect directly to the multi sector partnerships by providing a platform to start off from when designing the best approach to engage with a particular community. In the same sense, there is also a connection to the theory of participatory communication, which I will discuss later on. Community involvement is the first level. The role of public relations is to execute (p. 260). In this case public relations practitioners work towards involving the organization in already existing communities, and carrying out socially respo nsible actions as well as engaging in open communication with the community members to this stage, the community and organization engage in honest and ethical dialogue s in order to learn and understand the expectations and hesitations each party may have about the relationship (Hallahan, 2004). political, social, and cultural vitality of communit ies in which people and organizations or involvement in the community, in this case the organization is taking the initiative on als. The role of public relations experts in this case is to act as facilitators, generating the content, and coordinating the different events and activities that the organization is putting on for the community (Hallahan, 2004). Finally, the community o rganizing level deals with the creation of communities. It is a grassroots movement that looks to bring together people who share common goals
34 o the extent that this appro ach is rooted in social problems, community organizing resembles the formation of a public or a social movement relations practitioners act as advocates and recruiters, bringing people together and coordinating the creatin g of a unified community under a shared goal. By engaging in the development and execution of a community relations program, organizations are encouraging the goodwill of community members (Kruckeberg & Starck, 1994). This will establish a mutual trust b ase for the development of relationships and ensure a collaborative climate amongst parties. It is important that, even though the focus of the community relations program is nonprofit, the success or failure of the program will impact the organization fin ancially and potentially harm its reputation (Kruckeberg & Starck, 1994). This is to say, that organizations should not take these programs lightly, it is not just something else that needs to be done because of a trend; it is the public relations special and secure their commitment to the program. This idea was also discussed by Leeper (1996) as she argued that stewardship, in terms of the relationship maintenance, was something that organizations were moving towards. Businesses are attempting to act more responsibly by, not only engaging with their communities, but also looking after the quality of their products and the adoption of social responsibility as part of their business model. This makes for an integ ral approach to communitarian public relations. Communication in Development The importance of awarding communication processes its due value in development programs has been an accepted fact since the early 1980s. Similarly, culture is considered to be a determining factor in the creation of successful
35 inclusion of these components is even an eth ical decision (p. 3). What has not yet become an uncontested principle is the way to go about including communication and culture into the development strategies that are created to address particular social issues. There are as many types of theories or paradigms proposed as there are needs to be covered; however, there has been a consistent evolution of the field that is focusing more towards the creation and use of participatory and community based strategies, as opposed to a top down, magic bullet lik e style of managing development programs. All the models proposed consider communication to be an indispensable part of the strategy; nonetheless, one of the biggest criticisms has been the fact that sometimes communication is too important and other facto rs are not he socioeconomic structures, material resources, inadequate infrastructure, over centralized bureaucracies, lack of political will, the transnational invasion, arm twisting by financial and aid organizations rtant components of the development process, but are often overlooked because too much attention is put on the communication aspect (Kumar, 1994, pp. 76 77). One of the main issues in development is the fact that there is no universally accepted definitio disputes over the preferred or most effective theories and styles adopted over time. hough most would agree that development means improving the living conditions of society, there has been much debate on just what constitute improved living conditions a (p. 129)
36 One of the tasks that the present research has at hand is that of defining the key concepts and theories that will frame the analysis of the communication practices in multi sector partnerships for development. T he exercise of explicating theories, concepts, and methodologies in development communica tion presents unique challenges, and as such, the researcher will attempt to create as clear a definition as possible. Possibly the first caveat, is the assumption that one theory or paradigm will trump aradigms in the social sciences build on one another rather than break funda mentally with previous theo ( Servaes, 1999, p. 8) Despite the diversity in proposed methodologies or theories, most of them will ally with either a modernization or post modernization starting point. This means that they will share basic assumptions in their approach to develo pment and the role of communications, but will differ slightly and create improvements according to specific circumstances. Servaes (1999) argued that the different approaches to development are not theories, but rather paradigms that will provide instruct ions and guidance in the creation and execution of development programs. For the purpose of this research, the differentiation between paradigms and theories is irrelevant as both concepts attempt to establish an outline with which to interpret the idea of development and communication within development programs. to development, and this has led to the fact that little has been agreed upon. Nonetheless, the two main things t hat most practitioners, experts and scholars agree on are: 1)There needs to be a transition from analysis and description of situations, to the actual proposition of solutions to the problems, enough talking; and 2) there are no
37 size fits all approach, although used widely during the 1960s, has proven to be ineffective. Modernization Paradigm As mentioned before, there are two main perspectives that guide the development programs and, in turn, the way communication is viewed and used. The first one, because historically it appeared first, is the modernization paradigm. Development thinkers and scholars during the late 1940s and 1950s came to the conclusion that underdevelopment in certain countries, particularly those in the Third World, was due to Servaes, 1999; Kumar, 1994). This meant, that their backwardness was caused by a lack of technological and in dustrial growth; a problem that could be easily solved by transplanting the ways of the West into these settings, with no regard for their own circumstances or own development processes (Kumar, 1994). Development experts considered the religious and cultur al identity of the underdeveloped countries to be hindrances to the growth of these social groups. The focus of modernization theory was national product (GNP), literacy, ur banization, and the industrial base were considered This mainly economic oriented view, characterized by endogenism and evolutionism, ultimately resulted in the modernization and growth theory dard for the implementation of the Western mechanisms as a solution to underdevelopment ( Servaes, 1999, p. 5) Modernization proposes development by way of relying on the methods and resources that others, namely the Western countries, have successfully i mplemented in
38 and know area where the program is being executed (Servaes, 1999, p.20). There is little to no regard towards the idiosyncrasy of the people, or their realities. Their ethnic identity, their heritage, and their history are irrelevant, since for the modernists that identity has caused the underdevelopment and, as such, needs to be era dicated to make room for the truly effective modern ways. There was an assumption that the strategies would work successfully in all types of cultures or situations. However, the sense of urgency to importance of creating adequate solutions, thus producing overly simplistic and ineffective programs (Casmir, 1991; Kumar, 1994). Communication in the modernization approach had a particular and specific role. the end purpose of establishing a new set of beliefs focused on economic and quantitative measures of success (p. 133). The model of communication within the one w ay, non participatory communication models with the objective of encouraging the industrialization and economic growth synonymous with the model of developm ( Gandelsonas, 2002, pp. 2 3) The mass media exposure was expected to strengthen literacy and, in so doing, increase political participation and economic revival. There was great pressure on the media to change the attitudes and behaviors of the people, in order to transform the economic reality of their country (Kumar, 1 994). It has been claimed that modernization had no intention of actually including the participation of the underdeveloped. However, Thomas (1994) suggested that
39 modernization theories did anticipate some sort of participation, and that this was allowed The common peoples of the developing countries were expected to be capable of only limited participation in democratic governance for the fe This shows ho w participation was never intended to be direct or even seriously considered for the decision making process. Therefore, people were encouraged to participate in certain type of activities, but only as a representation of their involvement, since the solut ions to their problems and the major decisions had already been made for them (Thomas, 1994; Melkote, 2003). About this, Thomas (1994) described it as passive receivers of this body of knowledge. It was not their knowledge, but a k nowledge that was exoge nous and only vaguely related, if at all, to their reality (p. 51) Deshler and Sock (1985 as cited by White, 1994 ) described two levels of participation when it came to communication processes. Their first level was named pseudo pa rticipation and it was divided into two other sub categories called sharing of information, manipulation, and some level of consultation. However, White (1994) argued that when the control of the development process is not in the hands of ere, the level of participation of the people is that of being present to listen to what is being planned for them and what w ould be done unto them this is definitely non participatory (p. 17) There was an expectation that modernization would reach all spheres of society areas, would reach the rest of society and the new behaviors and attitudes would be
40 adopted by everyone. However, this was not the case. The popularity of the modernization paradigm slowly declined once the effects of it were manifest. By the end of the 1960s and mid evaluation reports of extension programs in the nonaligned world indicated that the consequences of modernization had been disastrous programs were the local elites, th e international companies involved in the development of the Third World countries, and financing institutions, like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which had been involved since the beginning providing the capital transfers and l oans. Not only were the elite being benefitted the most from the modernization approach, but also the trickle down effect that was expected never happened. The media was supposed to act as a channel for the diffusion of information; however, the higher cla sses were the only ones with access to the mass media and, therefore, the messages of progress and adoption of new ideas never reached the lower classes (Kumar, 1994). Not only was the modernization paradigm facilitating the enriching of the higher class es, but also the groups in society that had originated the development programs were poorer and more in need than before. The increasing levels of poverty in these countries were caused, partly, due to a massive migration that took people out of their rura l settings and brought them out into overpopulated urban areas with promises of industrialized and developed jobs that never existed. To make matters worse, the communities ended up in more detrimental conditions than before the irruption by the developmen t experts. Additionally, the people were left to their own devices and had to
41 pick up the pieces of a broken system that had been completely ineffective, while the specialists went back to their developed countries (Kumar, 1994; Gandelsonas, 2002). This e vident disconnection between what had been expected and the reality experienced, triggered a series of questionings and criticisms of the modernization disregard for the loc al culture and religion, as well as the imposition of its own patriarchal values on the people with which they worked. Melkote (2002) was explicit in cultural traditions had to be destroye d i f the Third World nations this is exactly what happened (p. 132). Casmir (1991) also commented on the nature of modernization and how the true colors of the experts came to show once the programs [c] orruption, greed, power, and striving for power may not be factors we like to acknowledge or have publicly exposed, but, unfortunately, they have appeared in conjunction with almost all human efforts which promised worthwhile rewards or status (p. 6) As it was mentioned before, theories and paradigms in the social sciences grow and evolve from each other. When one is created it does not mean it will trump the previous one. The criticism and disapproval that modernization was subjected to resulted in t he development of two main new paradigms. They still shared a significant portion of the modernization beliefs, but attempted to improve it in some way. Diffusion of innovations t heory Diffusion of innovations theory is the first step in the direction of a more participatory approach to the development programs and the inclusion of the community members in their social change process. Everett Rogers is credited with the conception
42 of this paradigm, and he defined an innovation as an idea, practice or obje ct perceived as new by a person or a group of people (Kumar, 1994). This theoretical design placed a high value on quantitative measures for success, similar to that of the traditional modernization approach. Additionally, the media played an even bigger and industrialization of society. The participation in the communication process was still viewed as an imposition, a one way stream of information aimed at the undeveloped audiences that needed to be introduced to a new way of living. There is even an argument to state that the diffusion of innovations theory was the maximum expression of the one way, persuasion model for modernization (Servaes, 1999). Dependency p aradigm Another one of the paradigms that surfaced as a response to the criticism of the modernization approach was the dependency paradigm. There seem to be two main actors that influenced the establishment of the dependency paradigm, one was the work of Paul Bar an and Andr Gunder Frank (Kumar, 1994) and the other one proposes the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) as an influential character in the process (Servaes, 1999). Self reliance is the overarching concept in the dependency paradigm. According to Servaes (1999), this model put forward the idea that the problems of underdevelopment were not caused by internal factors such as shortage of capital, but by external obstacles. Therefore, the solution to the problem w as to separate itself from There was an important problem with this paradigm that made it equally as criticized as the modernization approach. It promoted self reliance through
43 i ndustrialization and import substitution under foreign investment. This only resulted in greater, not lesser, dependence on the peripheral countries and their industries; additionally underdevelopment was only heightened and the countries were submersed in a deepening economic debt situation (Kumar, 1994). Additionally, the Latin American dependency paradigm followers, named the dependistas are accused of taking for granted the connection between the Westernized messages and ideology, and the consumption culture that was inherently transmitted through them. This truncated the self reliance message preached by the model, and strengthened the idea of the Western lifestyle and culture being better than their own local identities (Servaes, 1999). Participator y Communication Theory Also referred to as the multiplicity paradigm, the two way communication approach, another development, culturalist, or the public oriented communication model (Kumar, 1994; Servaes, 1991; Servaes, 1999; Thomas, 1994; White, 1994); t his theoretical framework is the most recent and more widely accepted conceptualization for the development of Third World regions and people groups. Paulo Freire was one of the main proponents of this theory. He advocated for a fair and equal treatment of all people, and called upon everyone to treat other people with respect (Freire, 1970). The participatory paradigm, as its name suggests, focuses on the involvement and active participation of the beneficiary groups in the process of creation and implem The participatory model sees people as the nucleus of development. Development means lifting up the spirits of a local community to take pride in its own culture, stresses the participation at all levels: individual, local, national, and international
44 ( Servaes, 1991, p. 93) Jamieson (1991) argued that the participatory theory must strive to constantly advance from theory to practice, in order to achieve its maximum potenti al; this can only be accomplished by staying true to the source of the participation: the universal model that can be replicated freely, as such, every case and program needs to develop its own definition of what development looks like for their particular realities. This focus of development in which the people are considered the source of information and transformation is not easy to achieve. Neither are these types o f programs predictable or easy to administer. Similarly, they are not popular with the local dominating social and economic classes. Strong opposition from these groups is not rare; after all, the model is proposing to re distribute the power that has been in the hands of a few, into the hands of many. However, the results that true participation and an accomplished democracy offer are surely liberating (White et al., 1994; Servaes, 1999). The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizati on (UNESCO) defined participatory communication as access, participation, and self management. Access refers to the opportunity to get information and also offer feedback on the content of said media outlets. Participation was defined as the involvement of the public in the communication processes (i.e. planning, management, and production). And the final component, self management represents the maximum form of involvement, as it requires the public to be part of the decision making process in the communic ation The inclusion of the local members in every step of the process for development
45 guarantees that the solutions proposed will be relevant to the reality the community exp eriences. Jamieson (1991) said that when true participation occurs this assures that development must strive to address and solve the problems that are affecting the 33). As far as the use of communication within this model, other than the emphasis in participation as its name suggests, there is a strong focus on the receiving end of the communication process. The quality of the communication will depend greatly on the amount and quality of feedback that the audiences provide, hence the prominence of t he two way and reciprocal communication models (Jamieson, 1991). By turning the information one is disseminating [to] disseminating information for which there is a n development of these programs results in more diverse goals and tactics, thus creating tailored strategies. This allows for a more effective form of communication, rather than a massive media exposure to generic messages and ideas, it is communication among equals (Thomas, 1994). As it was mentioned before, White (1994) talked about Deshler and Sock (1985) proposed two levels of participation. The modernization approach uses pseudo participation and the participatory paradigm aims to use genuine participation in its communication processes. Genuine participation has been subdivided into two
46 categories named cooperation and citizen control; the former makes reference to pa rtnership and delegation of power, and the latter refers to empowerment of the citizens. For there to exist genuine participation, collaboration between the local elite and the people needs to take place. Only under these circumstances will it be possible to establish a decision making process that will empower the citizens, and allow them to develop effective solutions (White, 1994). Additionally, Melkote (2003) posited that participation should encourage citizens to become involved politically and social ly; it should bring in those people that were pushed to the sidelines by the modernization approach and allow them to share their insights on their realities, their needs, and collaborate in the decision making process. This is what he named Participatory Action Research (PAR), an area within the participatory communication paradigm that stresses awareness of their situations (p. 139). The transition towards a more egalitari an and inclusive way of fostering development has not been easy. However, the results speak for themselves, slowly but surely bureaucrats, academics and practitioners have increasingly become more aware of the importance of a participatory approach. An hon est concern, respect and consideration of the culture and local identities of the communities where these programs are carried out has allowed for better results (White, 1994). Participatory communication is not intended to be a panacea for the social pr oblems in a community or country. It is conceived as a long term approach that will attempt to resolve some of the bigger problems; however, this does not mean that short term solutions should not be implemented to address the more pressing issues
47 that mig ht exist. In the same way, there must be an intentional consideration for the price that participatory communication has for the members of the underdeveloped communities. For them to take part in the decision making processes, they need to take time from their work. An ethical undertaking of this paradigm will honor this effort by making the process as time effective as possible (Thomas, 19994; White, 1994). Multi Sector Partnerships As I mentioned earlier, multi sector partnerships are quickly becoming a widely accepted, and encouraged, practice for those organizations in the public and private sector that are looking to get involved in the social issues of their countries. In this section, it is the aim of the resear cher to go into more detail about how these partnerships came to be, how they have changed throughout time, what are the best practices when running a multi sector partnership for development (MSPD), and how public relations contributes to the growth of th ese forms of collaboration. Antecedent Factors for Multi sector Partnerships The model of partnering across sectors is not new. Sagawa and Segal (2000) mentioned that in the 1970s and 1980s these partnerships were mostly directed towards education, cultur al, or environmental causes located where organizations operated. These were relationships that were taking philanthropy a step further, going from the act of writing a check to engaging in a program that would satisfy a social objective and contribute tow Nonetheless, the relationship between organizations form opposing sectors is not here once the two sectors were world s apart, with contact between them at best an unequ al relationship of philanthropist and charity and at worst one of political adversaries, many businesses
48 and social sector organizations are rethinking how they interact ( Sagawa & Segal, 2000, p. 106 ). Born out of the necessity to find new ways to meet th eir own business needs, the private sector is discovering that partnering with organizations from other sectors opens up an infinite number of opportunities to collaborate and grow. ts are finding it harder and harder to meet the needs of their most vulnerable populations, or even tackle the social problems of their countries. The social sector is aware of this situation and, therefore, has been taking over the responsibility and serv ing more people with much better results than they have in the past (Sagawa & Segal, 2000). However this poses a threat, since with more awareness more organizations are born to intervene and contribute to the resolution of problems, therefore, funds and d onations are spread thin across the spectrum. A survey conducted at the end of 2010 showed that Americans, due to a strenuous economical situation, were donating less money and time to their charities of choice (Flandez, 2010). Despite their desires to con tribute and help others, they were prioritizing their own economic necessities over their contributions. The demands that come from operating in a sector in which resources are scarce and the needs are plentiful requires that organizations reach out to v aried tactics for generating income. It is now common to see NGOs launching clothing collections, and adopting market ness sector (Sagawa & Segal, 2000, p. 112). In the same way, society has become aware that the private sector has resources available that could help alleviate the social problems, and
49 are therefore, demanding greater accountability from businesses. Corpor ate social responsibility stems from a social and government based pressure upon the private sector, demanding that they give back and get involved in the social issues in their communities (Leeper, 1996). that once defined precise roles for the for profit and not for profit sectors have blurred, and thr (Sagawa & Segal, 2000, p.112). Therefore, in light of this tendency from both sectors to at multi sector partnerships are created: to maximize what each partner has to offer, in order to achieve a common goal. However, Austin and SEKN (2004) painted a much different picture when it comes to the reality in Latin America. In this case, the his tory of partnerships between organizations from different sectors is very government focused. Historically, governments and churches have taken on the burden of providing the social services to their citizens (Molleda, 2001), while businesses are expected to care for their business, and nothing more. Despite the fact that research has demonstrated that the social focused partnerships in Latin America are growing strong in many countries the business sector has been looked on with suspicion and concern abo ut self interest and exploitation rather than as sources of beneficence and caring about the wel l being of the With time, and as some of these partnerships receive increased attention from the beneficiary co mmunities and the media, the population has been able to recognize their contributions. Additionally, acceptance is growing towards the fact that the social issues that the nation is dealing with, are far too large for a single entity to take on.
50 Governmen ts are privatizing branches of their social services, and relying on third parties to take on the task; and market forces are not supplying enough jobs to cover for the social problems. The evidence for something or someone larger to step in and take contr Austin & SEKN, 2004). Sector Partnerships Creating a partnership requires a careful and closely monitored process in order to guarantee a successful proce ss of partner and methodology selection. It has been agreed that partnerships are a way for organizations to expand beyond their own capabilities and work towards a shared strategic goal (Sagawa & Segal, 2000; Varad arajan & Cunnigham, 1995 ). However, even when there is a common objective as the overarching purpose for the creation of a partnership, there needs to be a process during which all partners get to know each other. The fact that they are interested in addressing the same issue does n ot negate the fact that their organizational identities are different; as such there is a likelihood that there are conflicting ideas of how to approach their shared goal (Linden, 2002). Businesses most likely will want to focus on the value adding capacit y of the partnership, while nonprofit sector partners will want the private sector counterparts to ship be viewed as a relationship rather than a deal. Like any valued relationship, a collaborative alliance partnership relies on how well the members relate to one another whether they can
51 differences. Developing a strong relationship between all members of the partnership is a crucial factor in securing a smooth process in the execution of the programs, as well as preparation for times of struggle (Austin, Reficco & SEKN, 2004; Linden, 2002). Austin (2000) put forward a set of seven principles to guide a successful first element is connection with both the people that make up the partnership, but also with the purpose for which the partnership is created. Linden (2000) went so far as to state that if there is no shared purpose, then there is no reason to collaborate at all. It is important that not only top level management is connected to the partnership, but also member organizations must work to involve and engage their employees with the cause the partnership is contributing to. About this, Austin (2000) mentione reating opportunities for interaction and service engagement by employees at all levels in both organizations fosters personal relationship (p. 174) The ability for a partnership to reach its full potential relie s on the ability of the members 2000, p.157) The second element is clarity of the purpose for which the partnership is being created. One of the main contributions that p rivate sector members bring to the table is their business minded focus on discipline and rigor (Austin, 2000), this will allow for a strict and well targeted effort in the design and execution stages. All of the member organizations must forgo their self centered mentalities in order to adopt a group minded approach. They emphasized that, because organizations are working together,
52 it does not imply that they should abandon or alter their original and central missions. Rather than risking their own survival by trying to enter a field that is new to them commercialization of products in the case of nonprofits, or putting social change before profit making usinesses and social sector organizations alike to strike Third on the list is congruency of the mission, strategy, and values that the partnership is promoting. In order to develop a stro ng foundation that will keep the partnership safe and strong during times of uncertainty or crisis, partner organizations must be closely aligned with each other in terms of their purpose as a partnership and the strategies that will be employed (Austin, 2 000). Creation of value partnerships are born from a realization that a single entity lacks the resources and capabilities to tackle an issue on its own; therefore, by coming together, partnering organi zations are seeking to bolster their strengths and achieve their shared goals. be obtained partnership is proving its unique significance. As the fifth element, Austin (2000) placed a great deal of importance on communication between partners. We are dedicating a specific sect ion to this, so for now we shall say that good relationships between partners, a strategic fit and an effective strategy for the creation of value are all good, but without a solid
53 communication process running across the partnership the risk of failure in creases dramatically. Continu ous learning comes in sixth on the list. Although there is a strong emphasis on planning and preparation, partnerships are dynamic forms of collaboration. As such, partners should embrace this and adopt flexibility as one of their own values. Additionally, learning from the other partners is an effective way of creating rapport, strengthening the communication lines, and expanding the possibilities for future collaboration opportunities (Sagawa & Segal, 2000; Austin, 2000). Os bourne and Gaebler (1992) and Drucker (1989) stated that both profit and nonprofit sectors have much to learn from each other. Businesses can learn to be more mission driven, learn to motivate their staff and volunteers more, and learn to hold their CEOs a ccountable for what they do. In the same respect, nonprofits could learn from businesses how to be more competitive, more customer driven, and more results and market oriented. This is rships are meant to benefit the members, at the same time that it tackles social issues. Finally, the seventh and last element in the list is commitment ; in this case it refers to a commitment to the partnership that is being created. It is important tha t members understand that partnerships are intended to be long term, and that there is an emphasis on slowly integrating the business format and strategies with the newly created partnership. Austin et al. (2004) also pointed to the importance of a committ ed ocused attention on the part of the leaders capable of making decisions, allocating resources, and committing their organizations to the partnership, is a vital input for its successful management (p. 153)
54 Communicat ion in a Multi Sector Partnership In the revision of the existing literature on multi sector partnerships, the theme of communication and the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between partners came up consistently. Additionally, this be ing a research focusing on communications, more specifically public relations, it is important to take a moment to understand how the use of communications plays a vital role in the development and success of multi sector partnerships. As the starting p remise, collaboration cannot exist without communication (Austin et al., 2004). Therefore the question is not about whether or not communication is necessary that has been established but more about how to use communication to benefit the partnership a nd to promote its programs. Additionally, relationships thrive There is a clear connection to the topics of communitarian public relations and participatory communication. As Molleda, Martinez, and Suarez (2008) explained, this take on communication within multi broader solutions and improved qualit y of life it is necessary to capture the experiences of community members, work together toward common goals, and facilitate participation been explored, tie in with multi sector partnerships and the added value they bring to the execution of these forms of collaboration. The relationship between the different partnership members will grow stronger as long there are open lines of communication that allow for a sincere exch ange of opinions, ideas, and dialogue every step of the way. When members are able to voice
55 their opinions and communicate their expectations, the relationship strengthens (Austin, 2000; Austin et al., 2004). Along the same lines, communication is vital wi th other artners must work to develop ongoing and effective communication between themselves among the personnel within each activities, needs, and accomplishments ( Austin, 2000, p. 131) Employees are a valuable component to the execution and success of a partnership. It is imperative that top level management work towards transmitting the importance of the partnership to all levels of the organization, both profit and nonprofit (Sagawa & Segal, 2000; Austin et al., 2004). Molleda et al. (2008) discovered the potential for communication in five main with many cultural similarities to Cost Rica, they found that in multi sector partnerships, stra tegic, participatory communication played an important role in furthering and facilitating the partnerships. Communication was found to aid in bridging the gap between sectors, strengthening the alignment by sharing the same goals and beliefs across the bo ard. In the same sense, a clear communication of how the partnership will benefit members and the intended audience, enhances the value granted to the partnership itself. Finally, communication itself is an effective way of making the management of the par tnership easier, and of promoting growth and innovation. A final component of the communications aspect has to do with the representatives from each organization who take active part in running the partnership. Whether organizations choose to delegate th is role to an in house person or outsource
56 it to a public relations agency or independent consultant, it is of utmost importance that members select a person responsible for representing the organization and handling communications. There are good argument s to support the idea of entrusting each to support the idea of handing that responsibility to a third party entity. The overarching theme is that someone needs to take ca re of it and become the accepted representative (Linden, 2002; Austin, 2000; Austin et al., 2004). About this, Austin (2000) argued that: I f an alliance is truly strategic, each organization will have an assigned partner relationship manager. Having such counterparts can enhance coordination in programs and communication, particularly in the joint formulation of a strategy for communicating about the partnership both internally and externally (p. 181) About Aliarse: A Costa Rican Nonprofit Created in 2007 Aliarse is a nonprofit organization that stems from an initiative taken by public institutions and private sector businesses. Focused on furthering the sustainable economic development of Costa Rica, these organizations came together after they realized that their single efforts would struggle to reach the desired effects, and that together they could be a strong force for change. The economic, social and environmental realities of Costa Rica were, and still are, less than ideal, therefore they realized t change The founding member organizations were already familiar with corporate social responsibility strategies as part of their business plans, these are organizations that have set an example for others in their fields; and have worked to increase their competitiveness in the market, while at the same time contribute to the well being of
57 their employees, communities and business partners ( works to guarantee that the partnerships have the desired impact by systematically bringing together the ideal members to produce an effective multi sector partnership for the sustainable development of Costa Rica. In o rder to guarantee that Aliarse is working in the most effective way possible, they have focused their work on four specific areas: environment, health, education, and local development (Curriculo Institucional, 2011). Additionally, Aliarse is part of certa in strategic partnerships itself that strengthen the work the organization does. Among those partnerships a few stand out: United Nation Global Impact, Asociacin Empresarial para el Desarrollo (Business Association for Development) which is in turn allied with United Way, and Centrum fr Internationale Migration und Entwicklung Curriculo Institucional, 2011). private alliances that will contribute to sustainable development and equality, through the exercise of social responsibility the collaboration between organizations from different sector s, and they aim to be leaders in Costa Rica in terms of the promotion of multi sector partnerships that tie back multi sector partners hips for development. Every year the organization offers a series of workshops and training opportunities with the goal of spreading the understanding of this form of collaboration. These workshops are directed at the management level
58 positions from both p ublic and private organizations, and are all connected to the four areas of focus that Aliarse works with (Programa Formacion Continua, 2011). The communications aspect of Aliarse is still very new. It produces a digital newsletter InfoAliarse that i s published annually and it highlights the main projects on which the organization has been working. Additionally the organization manages a website with a substantial amount of information about the Aliarse, its work, current partnerships that are being e xecuted, and educational resources. Of considerable relevance to this study is the fact that Aliarse does not possess a person dedicated exclusively to public relations or communications. The different aspects of communication are divided amongst several s taff members, the Executive Director included. Despite the fact that Aliarse is a fairly small organization, it works with some of the most prominent public and private organizations in the country. From the private sector the founding organizations incl ude Bridgestone, tire manufacturer and distributor; Chiquita, banana growing and commercializing company; Intel, world leader in silicon innovation; Grupo Purdy Motor, exclusive Toyota dealer; Clnica Bblica Hospital; and Pennsula Papagayo, sustainable t ourist development. Similarly, some of the public sector founding members include the Banco de Costa Rica, one of the largest state banks; Grupo ICE, largest electricity, telephone and internet provider in the country; AyA, largest water treatment and prov ider plant; and Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (National Learning Institute), supervising entity for the professional training and
59 organizations and invites them to jo in certain partnerships if said organizations have a history of working in the same are that the created partnership is going to address. Research Questions After a thorough examination of the existing literature it is possible to establish a series of res earch questions. They will guide the investigation to a more focused area of inquiry and allow s the researcher to draw more relevant conclusions. Since the literature review section has been divided into three main sections, the guiding research questions and subsequent proposition have been created using the same format. The communitarian approach of public relations is a key principle in the execu tion of multi sector partnerships; however, the literature demonstrated that this style is yet to become the predominant way of practicing public relations. Therefore, the following research question was created: tions approach best described as c ommunity involvement c ommunity nurturing or c ommunity organizing ? Similarly, the section on communication within multi sector partnerships relied it was important for the researcher to analyze the extent to which these elements were incorporated into the management of the partnerships. This led to the creation of the second research question and its sub questions. RQ2: To what extent are the sev en Cs of strategic collaboration, namely connection, of purpose congruency, creation of value, continual learning, commitment, and communication integrated into the management of the partnerships? Based on the significant quality of the information gathered about Aliarse and its management style, at this point it is safe to establish a proposition that f it s within the
60 theoretical framework of communication in development. The analysis of the data will be either confirm or reject the assumption made. P 1: Alia rse uses predominantly the participatory paradigm over the modernization paradigm to guide the management of its partnerships.
61 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Choosing the right methodology is a vital component in the process to developing high quality and relevant results. For this particular project I have selected a qualitative research approach. Based on the descriptive information that is necessary to answer the research questions proposed, this approach will provide enough i nformation to draw significant conclusions. The circumstances in which the research is conducted greatly affects the type of approach researchers take for the data collection process. The qualitative approach is used when the purpose of the research deals with one or more of the following aspects: a) understanding the meaning attributed by participants to particular events or actions in their lives, b) understanding the context in which participants act and how that affects their actions, c) discovering inf luences that had not been anticipated, d) understanding how certain outcomes come to be, and lastly e) developing explanations to justify a certain outcome (Bickman & Rog, 1998). This particular project aims to understand the meaning attributed by particip ants to the specific partnerships and communication processes connected to those partnerships. At the same time it intends to understand the context in which these partnerships operate and communicate with each other, as well as what influences those commu nication processes. By taking an interpretive paradigm as the guideline to qualitative research, it is possible to analyze the reality being studied and understand how the dynamic of multi sector partnerships, and the interactions happening within them, af fects the communication process. This also allows for an active participation of the researcher in the data collection process (Wimmer & Dominick, 2011).
62 About the Researcher As a Costa Rican with hands on experience in the field of public relations in the country, I have dealt with the challenges and opportunities that both private, public and nonprofit sectors pose. I have personally worked with some of the member organizations and with several of the people that represent these organizations. My abilit y to engage with the participants in their native language, Spanish, increased the credibility of the study. In the same sense, it eliminated any type of miscommunication due to a language barrier, and guaranteed comfortable and fluid conversation during i nterviews. Similarly, my familiarity with the culture and society at large facilitated the analysis of the data, any reference to the national reality that affects the creation or management of the partnerships, was identified and accounted for. Design In line with the qualitative approach to the research, a particular organization was selected to function as the focus of the study. Due to the nature of multi sector partnerships, this methodology allowed for a more in depth look at the details in the com munication processes. In selecting such a narrow approach, the researcher is not pretending to be representative of an entire population, but rather to understand, by taking a much closer look than any other methodology allows, more clearly how multi secto r partnerships tailor the development of communication strategies (Austin & SEKN, 2004). The researcher selected the Costa Rican nonprofit organization Aliarse as the unit of analysis. Aliarse has positioned itself as a leader in the field, not only facilitating the creation of successful multi sector partnerships for development, but also producing
63 informative material to educate others about the value of this form of collaboration, and engagi ng in specific partnerships itself. Costa Rica is starting to make a transition from a corporate social responsibility (CSR) oriented culture to a more collaborative approach to address the social issues in the country. By joining organizations like Aliars e the larger and more prominent organizations in both the private and public sectors have accepted the fact that they cannot tackle the social issues of Costa Rica alone and therefore seek to partner with others to do so. Additionally, the education effo rts that Aliarse and other organizations like Asociacin Empresarial para el Desarrollo (Business Association for Development), have taught these organizations that their efforts can be maximized when they are executed according to a strategy, as opposed t o random acts of kindness (Currculo Institucional, 2011; Conferencias y talleres, n.d.). With the selection of the organization on which the study was to focus, it was determined that in depth, one on one interviewing was the most effective method to col lect the necessary data. This type of approach sets the stage for the researcher to (Daymon & Holloway, 2002, p. 166) by engaging in guided conversation. The researcher used a s emi structured interview guide to make sure that all the aspects structured interview gives the interviewer a framework in which to work, with enough freedom to choose the right way to pursue certai n issues. In this sense, based on how the interviewee reacts and responds to certain questions, the interviewer can decide to add questions to follow a lead, or eliminate certain questions that might not apply to the conversation.
64 The interview guide allo wed a flexible format in conversation and it was composed of a series of open ended questions that have stemmed from the research questions and proposition that guided the study. Those research questions were: ions approach best described as community involvement, community nurturing, or community organizing? RQ2: To what extent are the sev en Cs of strategic collaboration, namely connection, of purpose congruency, creation of value, continual learning, commitme nt, and communication integrated into the management of the partnerships? P1: Aliarse uses predominantly the participatory paradigm over the modernization paradigm to guide the management of its partnerships. Due to the fact that the sample was composed o f both of Aliarse managers and board members, as well as representatives from the founding member organizations and representatives from member organizations, there are two different interview guides (Appendices A and B). The interview guide for employee s of Aliarse (Appendix A) is made up of 16 questions. Questions #1 and #7 through #11 aim to answer RQ1, similarly questions #2, #4, #6, #8 through #10, and #12 through #16 are directed at answering RQ2, finally questions #3, #5, #7, #8 and #14 targets P1. In the case of the interview guide for the representatives from the member organizations (Appendix B) there are only 14 questions. They are divided as follows: questions #1, #5, #7 address RQ1, questions #2, #9 through #11, #13 and #14 relate to RQ2, and questions #4, #6 through #8 and #11 take on P1; additionally questions #3 and #12 are general questions concerning the In connection to the focus of the study,
65 there is a significant emphasis on communication related question when compared to other items in the interview guides. This is also evident in the upcoming chapter that presents the main findings. Conducting the interviews presented somewhat of a challenge since all of the interviewees are located in Costa Rica; that means that the majority of interviews were done over Skype, and only one of the interviews was done in person. Sample Qualitative research rarely strives for a random sampling of participants; rather, participants are chosen based on the purpose of the study (Daymon & Holloway, 2002). Seeing as Aliarse was selected as the focal point of the study, the sample was selected from a group of organizations and individuals connected to it. The organization has six full time employees, an Administ rative Board with five members, and 15 founding member organizations each with between one to three representatives. Additionally, there are several member organizations that have joined Aliarse since its creation. The sample was selected by convenience ba sed on time and distance limitations. Twenty people were selected as the sample; composed from Aliarse managers, administrative board members, representatives of the founding member organizations, and representatives from member organizations; these partic ipants will share their perceptions about the communication processes and strategies of multi sector partnerships for development. descriptions. Confidentiality was maintained as th eir names were not revealed.
66 Table 1 1 Sample Demographic Organization Type Description of organization Number of participants Sex description Aliarse Nonprofit Intermediary organization 3 2 female 1 male Manager, director, board member Banco de Costa Rica Public Institution State bank 1 Female Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Bridgestone Firestone Private company Tire manufacturing and distribution 1 Female Corporate and Community Relations Consejo Consultivo Nacional de Responsabilid ad Social Empresarial (CCNRS) Nonprofit National council of corporate social responsibility 1 Male Executive Vicepresident advisor C onsejo de Seguridad Vial (C OSEVI ) Public Institution Coordinator of national road safety 1 Male Project Director EcoDesarrollo Pennsula Papagayo Private company Sustainable tourism development 1 Female Community Relations Manager Grupo Purdy Motor Private company Car dealer 1 Male Corporate Relations Manager Hospital Clnica Bblica Private company Hospital 1 Male Social Action Manager Instituto de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA) Public institution Main national water service provider 1 Female Cooperation and International Affairs Director Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (INA) Public institution Technical and professional training for adults 1 Male Advisor to the President
67 Table 1 1. Continued Organization Type Description of organization Number of participants Sex description Intel Private company Microchip manufacturer and distributor 1 Female Community Relations Regional Manager Laboratorios Stein Private company Medical laboratory 1 Female Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator Ministerio de Salud Public institution Health ministry 1 Female Competitiveness and Environment Program Riteve Private company National automotive technical revision 1 Female Communications Coordinator TotalP.E.T. Private company Manufacturer of plastic packaging 1 Female Marketing and Sales Manager Validity Qualitative research is usually confronted with the issue of validity. Whether for the size and nature of the sample or the design used to collect data, there are always concerns about how the results from a particular investigation are relatable to other studies. At the same time, the interpretive paradigm emphasizes a strong participation by the researcher and this triggers concerns for the influence of interviewer bias. This research did not intend to eliminate the subjectivity of the researcher but incorporate it into the analysis through her knowledge of communication and public relations strategy (Bickman & Rog, 1998; Daymon & Holloway, 2002). As far as external validity is concerned, the variety of the organizations in the sample provides a wide array of public and private organizations in Costa Rica; this
68 means that the sample is somewhat representative of the public and private sector population and contributes to the validity of the study. Additionally, given the unique nature of multi sec tor partnerships for development, it is unrealistic to extrapolate the results from a single investigation; however, it is possible to present an educated model of what communication processes look and work like in those circumstances. Data Gathering Procedures In depth interviews rely heavily on the skills of the interviewer (Marshall & Rossman, 1999). Taking notes can distract the interviewer and can also make the participant uncomfortable; additionally, the participant can see what the interviewer c onsiders important or not, jeopardizing the quality of the information that he or she is willing to share. In this sense, for those interviews conducted in person, they were recorded with an audio recorder in order to guarantee the interviewers full attent ion, and contribute to creating a comfortable, bias free environment for the participant. In a similar way, the interviews that were carried out using video conference through Skype were recorded. Entry and exit strategies were an important part of the re search process, as the entire study could be compromised by poor planning of these factors. The initial contact with Aliarse was made through a current representative from one of its founding positive since the beginning. The organization shares the same passion for this subject, and believes it is necessary to encourage others to engage in multi sector partnerships for development. Building trust is a key factor when conducting qualitative r esearch, particularly with in depth interviews (Marshall & Goodman, 1999; Daymon & Holloway, 2002). The participants may be hesitant to share their ideas and opinions for fear of repercussions
69 o stimulate a comfortable and safe environment for the participant and to allow conversation to flow naturally (Creswell & Creswell, 2007). In order to generate this atmosphere of collaboration, participants; in this way the interviews had the support of the highest level authority in the organization assuring names and those of their organizations have been kept confidential in the analysis of results; therefore they felt comfortable to share valuable insight without the fear of identification or potential retaliation. Even though the researcher was introduced by the ication of the independence which both the participants and the researcher enjoyed in the study. Participants were assured that their answers would not be reported back to Aliarse, and that the interview guide had been designed exclusively by the researche r. In terms of exit strategies, once the project was finalized and approved, the highlighting the main discoveries from the study, and set up a meeting to discuss the project. If executive summary with other member organizations and Administrative Board members. Data Analysis In qualitative research, there is no numerical analysis of the data; instead the information gathered is prepared so as to allow an easier examination of its content. By reducing the raw data into categories or manageable sections they become less overwhelming for the researcher (Creswell & Creswell, 2007; Daymon & Holloway,
70 2002). Interviews were transcribed and analyzed in the search for patterns in the answers provided by participants. This was the most important and challenging part of the data analysis; an adequate identification of the patterns and themes in the data highlight ed the important elements expressed by the participants (Marshall & Rossman, 1999). As the interview guides were designed to answer each particular research question and proposition, it was easy to pair interview questions with their corresponding research question, allowing for a more effective analysis. It was possible to take the analysis a step further by looking at the frequency with which each theme was mentioned. How often or how little a particular subject was mentioned was an indicator of the perc eption towards that particular theme (Creswell & Creswell, 2007).
71 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS The data collection process yielded a total of 17 intensive interviews that were conducted over a four week period. The interviews were conducted using Skype; however, only a portion were done using both video and voice conferencing, the rest had to be con ducted using only voice conferencing because of a variety of reasons, including the fact that some participants did not have access to the right equipment at the time of the interview. Participants included three representatives from Aliarse, five from p ublic sector institutions, eight private sector companies, and one nonprofit organization that oversees the development of social responsibility in Costa Rica and of which Aliarse is a member. The participats were both male and female, eleven were women an d six were men, they all occupy manager level positions within their organizations. The following are the most relevant findings drawn from the analysis of the data. The results will be presented in the same order used to introduce the research questions a nd one proposition in the literature review and methodology section. Verbatim quotations from participants are inserted in the text as illustrations of the main results. The theory reviewed proposed three l evels of engagement in the involvement of public relations in programs for social change and development. Those levels ranged from a basic to a more complex participation each one varying depending on the role that public relations adopted. The most basic grade was a boundary spanning role known as community involvement; the next up is community nurturing, this is a role of facilitator and coordinator of partnerships and programs; and finally the third level
72 places public relations at a community organizing position in which it advocates, recruits, and creates communities with a social interest. Aliarse was created as a nonprofit that would work at a community organizing orga nizations that were leaders in their industry and who also had a record of prioritizing social responsibility in their own operations. They invited these organizations to be a part of a select community that would work towards establishing relevant and str ategic could contribute significantly to the promotion of multi sector partnerships in the four areas that we had designated as most important: education, health, environm ent, and personal communication December 21, 2011). Each founding organization paid a membership that was used as the initial capital to launch the organization. These are committed public and private sector organizations that, not and strategic goals for the organization. They maintain a level of community organizing engagement by participating in a national forum for multi sector initiativ es, particularly in the area of social responsibility. A participant from a national nonprofit even described the role of organizations, such as Aliarse, as an entity with the responsibility of evangelizing on the subject of public private collaboration. H shedding light on the subject of multi sector partnerships; and in setting the stage to move from the theoretical understanding that a synergy between government and
73 business is needed, to the establish ment a formal social responsibility management personal communication February13, 2012). Despite their initial focus as a community organizing entity, their mission and (Aliarse representative, personal communication December 21, 2012) for multi sector partnerships for development. This meant that they would be engaged, primarily, at a community nurturing level. With the time and the experience derived from several part the different partnerships varies depending on the nature of each alliance. Multi sector partnerships are organic structures, the result of very different organization al cultures that come together to collaborate; naturally this means that each one will be unique in its endeavors and the way they go about merging their identities to work together and maximize their assets. There is also a variation on the level of inv olvement depending on the stage the partnership is on, and the members it is participating with. The data showed that when public sector members are involved, Aliarse tends to have a stronger role of community involvement as it enacts the role of mediator between public and private sector members. This particularly is more evident when there are several private sector members and one public sector entity; designating one representative before the public institution makes all the initial bureaucracy much eas ier to handle, contrary to having multiple actors trying to cut through the red tape. The corporate relations manager from the private sector explained it by saying:
74 once i n a while, us from the private sector, would meet with the government but the day to day work is done by Aliarse. They had the responsibility of doing all the negotiating with the government ( personal communication January 25, 2012) Another benefit from the community involvement level is the cohesiveness that Aliarse gives to the proposal presented to the public sector institutions, allowing for a more credible and open communication. The strength found in the unit that an alliance provides is key to incr easing the value the collaboration has. A communications director reach an agreement with a public institution, than having a group of companies who personal communication January 25, 2012). It was also interesting to note that several of the participants from both public and private sectors, but also within Aliarse, expect a level of community involvement to be present. Particularly in the identifi cation of opportunities for collaboration, and in bridging that division between public and private sector to set the stage for a multi sector partnership. is their most p redominant level of engagement. Each multi sector partnership that Aliarse establishes runs in a semi facilitator, but there is an active participation from both the private and public sector members; deci representative, personal communication December 21, 2011).
75 seeking out potential allies for a particular proj ect. Even though there is not a conscious public relations strategy, their approach to the creation of partnerships exhibits clear public relations qualities. Several participants mentioned that their organization had been approached by Aliarse and invited to participate in a partnership that was intended to address an issue that might appeal to them based on their business orientation. There is a particular partnership in full effect currently that is a perfect example of the community nurturing role Aliar se has. The idea comes up after a law was approved regarding the waste management process for plastic residue. Aliarse, along with another nonprofit, come up with a plan to create a partnership which would bring together different private sector companies affected by this law, and design a program to improve the way the plastic waste was being recycled. Then proceeded to invite several companies, create the partnership, designate a strategy and roll out the campaign. The communications director for one of t he private sector companies us all together. They coordinate and run meetings, produce the materials; they have the personal communication Janu ary 27, 2012). Another corporate communications representative from the private sector, whose organization is involved was important because it brought together all the members that were interested in the ( personal communication February 7, 2012).
76 determining f actor in addressing one of the biggest obstacles that multi sector partnerships for development face in Costa Rica: trust. Several participants mentioned this as one of the biggest challenges they had encountered in working with members from a different se nonprofit sector ( personal communication February 13, 2012). A community relations manager from th e private sector mentioned that when working with the public sector the issue of trust is evident because there is a sense that behind apparent altruistic intentions, there is always a commercial motivation. She emphasized the importance of vention in these scenarios to bring credibility and neutrality to the initial other members, so having a third party that is a nonprofit searching to create a dialogue makes personal communication February 10, 2012). After this analysis, RQ1 has found that Aliarse predominantly uses a public relations community nurturing approach in its management of partnerships. Nonetheless, the other two levels, namely community involvement and community organizing, are also present in the organizations communitarian public relations approach but to a lesser extent. Even with the absence of a clearly designated person in the role of public relations, the organiza tion has demonstrated to take on public relations tactics and execute them as part of their management style. The Seven Cs of Collaboration The revision of the literature on public private partnerships emphasized seven items that contributed to a successful collaboration between the members of a
77 partnership. The seven Cs are the following: connection, clarity of purpose, congruency, creation o f value, continual learning, commitment, and communication. The interviews examined how and to what extent these elements were integrated into the operations and management of the existing multi sector partnerships that Aliarse has helped create. Creation of Value The overwhelming majority of participants emphasized that creation of value is one of the most important aspects of the multi sector partnerships they are involved in and also the primary reason why they joined Aliarse in the first place. A repr esentative from Aliarse mentioned that the organization was created due to an understanding that ( personal communication December 21, 2011). He also explained that back in 2005, before Aliarse was born, they were witnessing how many companies were spending high amounts of money in very non personal communi cation December 21, 2012). When consulted about the added value each member brings to the table, another Aliarse employee explained that the public sector provides a certain level of influence in public policy, and the certainty that the work done through the partnerships has a national impact. On the other hand, the private sector brings many different benefits but mainly their access to readily available human and par t of the organization they provide it with the security and recognition of having the (Aliarse representative, personal communication January 30, 2012).
78 Many of the par ticipants shared their understanding of their inability to tackle the issues on their own and, therefore, their need to reach out to others if they ever wanted to have an effect on a particular issue. When asked why they chose to enter a partnership instea d of trying to come up with a strategy on their own the representative in the foot. All of us together have a better understanding of the issue and a level of know ho personal communication January 27, 2012). Aliarse has maximized the diversity of its members by creating work clusters that group members with similar interests and allows them to collaborate in effec tive and efficient ways. An advisor from the public sector even mentioned that understanding this potential for creation of value is a determinant factor actors has seen e ach other as complementary and not as a competitors, then results personal communication February 13, 2012). Continual Learning Continual learning was another component that came up regularly in the conversations with participa nts. Tied closely to the creation of value, it is important for members of the same partnership to know each other, understand their motivations, restrictions, and capabilities in order to make the most of the collaboration. The community relations manager from a private sector organization explained that they from different industries and sectors were doing in terms of public ( personal communication January 25, 2012).
79 A strong indicator of the process of continual learning has to do with the speed at which both private and public sector operate. Several participants mentioned that this was one of the valuable lessons they had received from working with the opposite sector: It has been a process that requires a lot of patience; the speed at which the government and the private sector work are completely different. In this country if the government wants to take a step it has to ask for permission fr om both feet. (Corporate communications manager private sector, personal communication January 25, 2012) Another participant from the private sector mentioned that speed is an issue at times because there are many different opinions that need to be heard and considered before making a decision. Incidentally, the decision is slower and, therefore, they require much more consultation and deliberation before know each other better we become more efficient. Now a meeting to discuss a few points does not take us four personal communication January 27, 2012). Similarly, it was interesting to see how the public sector also saw the issue of timing and spe ed as a lesson to be taken from their collaboration with the private sector. A representative from the public sector commented that working with the private sector has been hard, not in terms of agreeing on issues but in how many less restrictions private sector companies have. They have to work on projects with much anticipation, state budgets are defined a year in advance, there is a very strict public spending legislation that limits the contributions public sector institutions can make to the partnershi ps. The issue of trust came up again in this particular component. A participant, who is a communications director, explained the apprehension that exists when the
80 fi rst time with four other organizations that you have never worked with, there is a personal communication January 25, 2012). Particularly in the private sector, companies tend to be very zealous when working with other organiza tions because it means that what those other entities do affects their own image and reputation. An interviewee, corporate relations manager, compared the initial reactions to a partnership to what you experience when walking blind folded into a would make decisions and then you just hoped they were going to follow personal communication January 25, 2012). Commitment The data on the commitment component of a multi sector partnership presented two differ ent results. One was the commitment to Aliarse as an organization, and a multi sector partnership in itself; and the other was the commitment to the different members were involved in. It is important to mention that a portion of the participants were representatives of organizations, private and public, that are involved in multi sector partnerships promoted by Aliarse but are not part of the founding organizations. For founding member organizations, their comm itment was demonstrated with an initial investment of 10 thousand dollars. Initially this was supposed to be a one time only investment; however, with time Aliarse has not been able to keep a steady flow of income from the existing partnerships, and is kno w requiring a monthly fee of three thousand dollars from its member organizations. There was a time, precisely when Aliarse was going through a rough financial situation, during which everyone involved with the organization was looking for ways to solve th e problem. One participant, community relations manager for a private sector participant, shared that every month
81 of us, we were all working towards that one problem ins tead of creating new initiatives personal communication January 25, 2012). Despite the change in the original agreement, the organizations have stood by their commitment and agreed to the monthly fee. However, not all of them consider they are receiving a reasonable return on their investment. A few participants mentioned that they were not seeing an added value to their involvement in Aliarse and one even intended to leave the organization altogether, but stayed after a series of negot iations. Another issue that came up during the time of trial, and also challenged the commitment of the founding organizations, was the inclusion of new members to the Advisory Council. Originally the selection of the founding organizations, and only mem bers of the Advisory Council, was so that there was one company or public institution from each industry and area of business. Nevertheless, with the creation of new partnerships and the inclusion of non members in them, the idea of opening the membership to those organizations came up. It was the same members of the Advisory Council who took the decision to open it up to certain organizations, even if they represented the same industry as one of the founding members. Even though some founding members were somewhat apprehensive, they agreed because they understood that the day will come when the same founding member cannot take part in every single partnership that pertains to their industry or area of business. Inevitably they will require the support of ot her entities. The second component to the commitment relates to the partnerships created through Aliarse. The data shows a very strong identification to the partnerships on
82 behalf of the members. There is also an understanding that, for the most part, t hese multi sector partnerships are a long term commitment. A manager from a private sector organization mentioned that the partnership they are involved with is scheduled to last down after personal communication January 27, 2012). Similarly, the representative from a public sector institution mentioned that their partnership is established to last four to five years, he the bonds are still strong we will keep on working however long they want. This is not personal communication February 10, 2012). The topic of commitment in the government side is so mewhat more vulnerable. The public sector suffers a complete staff renovation with every new elected government and the same is true for the heads of many public institutions that are not directly linked to elected officials. Unfortunately, this reflects o n the level of commitment that each ministry and head of each institution awards to organizations such as Aliarse. Despite this, however, each of the public sector founding organizations has remained a part of Aliarse since the beginning even through chang es in their staffing. This ties back to the profile of the organizations that were hand picked to work in the creation of Aliarse. These were public and private entities with a history of prioritizing social responsibility and development in their own orga nizations. Connection Commitment is closely related to the issue of connection between the members involved in a multi sector partnership. The interviews demonstrated that the relationship between the members was very positive. Despite all the challenges involved in working
83 through partnership, the shared motivation brings everyone together and enables them is a sense of unity, everybody is in the partnership for the personal communication January 25, 2012). In the same sense a different member from the private sector mentioned that many of the representatives for these companies involved in the partnerships have known each other for a long time; this allows for an easier adaptation process because they know their motivations. This shared purpose and kinship has allowed them to collaborate even with their own competitors, a representative from a private sector company commented about this particular ca se when there is an economic interest in the partnership this is an inclusive not exclusive personal communication January 27, 2012). Other partici pants, however, expressed that sometimes it was difficult to set aside the commercial interest or the search for a direct benefit to their organizations. However, when this happened Aliarse would intervene and act as a mediator to reconcile the demands and expectations members had and arrange a satisfactory outcome for all. Clarity of Purpose and Congruency The connection between members also extends to the clarity of purpose and congruency exhibited in their decision making process. Participants were con sistent in their evaluation of the way that decisions are made in the Advisory Council and in the partnerships they take part in. When talking about the way agreements are reached within Aliarse the corporate social responsibility coordinator for a private sector making process is very participative and democratic. It is one of the things I like the most about the Council in the sense that
84 there is an opportunity for everyone to express their pros and cons and reach cons personal communication February 7, 2012). A representative personal communication December 21, 2012). When it comes to decision making within the multi sector partnerships the process is not that much different. A participant, community relations manager, personal communication February 10, 2012); while another participant commented that the mission, vision, and strategy for their partnership had also been created by the group leading the partnership. Even in partnerships in which there is a member with a clear leadership, the d ecisions are still made in consensus with all members; a participant mentioned: Some decisions are made by the top players and the rest of us support their decisions, but it is a course of action where we all get our say. We meet every so often and discus open and mature group, we have been working for some time now and feedback is always welcome. (Community relations manager private sector, personal communication February 10, 2012) There was a particular case, brought up by one of the participants representing the private sector, in which the lack of clarity in the purpose of the partnership almost cost Aliarse the partnership itself, but also the membership of one of the organizations involved in the project. H e explained: Aliarse came and proposed a project. We began a very informal process; I guess you could call it cooperation. We had meetings but we never signed an agreement or anything that would define who was responsible for what. ( personal communication February 1, 2012)
85 After the proposed project fell through due to a lack of coordination and clear expectations, the organization threatened to leave Aliarse However, after a negotiation process that involved higher rank representatives from both parts, they agreed to stay and resume the partnership. The biggest lesson, the participant explained, was the need to be very clear from the beginning about the purp ose and expectations for the partnership, define the roles for each member, and get it all in writing. Interestingly enough, the practice of establishing the partnerships in an official terms of agreement document is standard practice when working with the public sector but not for the private sector, at least this was not evident from the data. Communication The final component from the seven Cs of collaboration is communication. There was abundant data in this area and the results were quite similar acros s the board, with a few exceptions that will be explained in further detail. Considering the management of individual partnerships is very similar to how Aliarse is run, there was no surprise to find out that the communication aspect is also very similar in both. Several participants qualified the communication within Aliarse and the partnerships as very open. One participant, representing the private sector, plenty of oppo rtunity to have an effect on what decisions will be made and what projects ( personal comm unication February 7, 2012). Issues such as the inclusion of new organizations into the Advisory Council show that Aliarse has established an open way of communication for members to express
86 their ideas, concerns and, together, reach an agreement. In a similar way, when some members in the Advisory Council started feeling that Aliarse was not fulfilling their expectations they approached the organization, shared their concerns and this led to positive changes in the organizations management. A participan t, communications director for a private sector organization, commented on this same openness by stating and suggestions. It is the way most of us do it: we talk to Aliars e and they bring it up at personal communication January 25, 2012). Meetings were chosen by every single participant as the primary way of communication, closely followed by electronic mail. The Advisory Council m eets once a month and the partnerships meet either once every two weeks or once a month. In addition to those meetings, there are subcommittees established to work on particular issues within Aliarse. These are also composed by the members of the Advisory Council and meet at least once a month. In addition, some of the partnerships have created subcommittees to delegate certain aspects of the programs, and these also meet at least once a month. A community relations manager interviewee mentioned that the re ason why meetings are the best way to share information and communicate with that if you are trying to get me to read a twenty page newsletter very few of us are going to take the time to really read it. This is why I think it is focalized in face to face personal communication February 10, 2012).
87 Other channels mentioned by the participants included emails and phone calls. Very few mentioned the yearly newsletter InfoAliarse, even fewer could refer to it by name and were unsure how often it was published. Hardly any mentioned the website and those who did mention it commented they seldom turn to it for informational purposes. Onl channels of communication, participants referred to the meetings as their main source of information. It is during the meetings that they find out what other members are working on and the progress other partnerships are making. For those who are content with the quality and quantity of the information and communication opportunities they have used expressions suc communication needs we have currently. If we had anything else for our communication private sector, personal communication February 7, 2012). A participant, private sector representat ive, mentioned that the communication ( personal communication February 7, 2012). Another participant, also ( personal communication February 10, 2012). For those members who mentioned they were not completely satisfied with the commonplace ( personal communication January 25, 30 and February 7, 2012). Participants are aware that as the relationship between members improves, the
88 communication will become a much easier task. There has even be en a significant improvement from the way communication was handled when Aliarse was first created. asked to attend a monthly meeting and they would inform us of what was g oing on. personal communication February 1, 2012). Now the situation has improved considerably and there is more of a two way communication channel between Aliarse and its member organizations. Aliarse stil l needs to correct certain aspects that members are expecting to see in something that tells personal communication January 25, 2012). InfoAliarse was created with this purpose; however, a director from a of what has alr eady been done. I think we should be using a much more interactive tool personal communication January 30, 2012). Additionally, a participant from the private sector commented that he is missing a way to personal communication February 1, 2012). When it comes to communication within the partnerships, the situat ion is very similar. Meetings and emails are the main channels for information sharing and communication. It appears as though partnerships have an even more informal t
89 an established protocol for this effect [communication], communication with the members of the partnership is conducted freely. The relevant topics are brought to the personal communication February 10, 2012). External c ommunication, while not the focus of the study, was brought up by several of the participants as an area that is in urgent need of improvement. Aliarse does not have a strategy for communicating with the news media or other external audiences. In the same sense, there are no guidelines to how external communication should be handled in partnerships. Currently, members will give up some of their advertising and public relations budgets to place news about the partnerships they are involved in, but it is on t Aliarse to position itself as the leading organization in the field, communicating about the partnerships they are promoting, and even coordinating to have a shared message across the board. Finally, the perspective on the management of communication from within Aliarse is somewhat hopeful. There is a clear awareness that communication is not one of the not be the case. Both internal and external communications suffer due to a lack of resources, financial and human, and this creates significant frustration for those leading t I know the huge impact communications can have on the organization, it is too risky to invest in a person dedicated to communication considering the limited resources we personal communication December 21, 201
90 personal communication January 30, 2012). She attributed the problem to a financial issue due to a lack of charita ble state for nonprofits in Costa Rica. This means that most of their time and efforts are spent trying to create new income opportunities for the organization; collaborate wi personal communication January 30, 2012). RQ2 has demonstrated that, to a larger or lesser extent, all seven Cs of collaboration are being used in the development and management of multi sector partnerships in Aliarse. Aspects like communication and clarity of purpose need to be reinforced, while areas like continual learning and creation of value represent two of the strongest areas both in Aliarse and in the partnerships it facilitates. Participatory Communication in Multi Sector Partnerships The information available prior to the data collection stage allowed the researcher to establish a proposition about the way A liarse goes about managing its partnerships. It was safe to assume that the participatory paradigm presented in the literature review was a dominant model in the administration of Aliarse and its partnerships. The data collection provided significant inf ormation to support the proposition. The essence of Aliarse is participatory in its management of the organization, its relationships with members, and the dynamics of cooperation within the partnerships. The coordinator for communications from a private s ector organization mentioned that personal communication January 25, 2012); both
91 qualities are key elements of the participatory pa radigm. This participatory inclination is first witnessed at the highest level with the Administrative Board, an Aliarse representative commented about their decision making process: We sit down and just have a conversation. All the feedback we receive we share with the executive administration. They are more suggestions and guides for actions so they can use them for their decision making process. ( personal communication January 30, 2012) tion of new partnerships, new members, and spreading the word about Aliarse. A representative from Aliarse personal communication January 30, 2012). sector partnerships can be interpreted as a participatory approach to partnerships. The actions stem from an understanding of the need for collaboration and a desire to creat e greater value in order to effect change in the Costa Rican society. Members value the determination and initiative Aliarse takes in searching for opportunities for collaboration. One participant, representing the private sector, summed up the sentiment b y stating their particular and projects that the government and public sectors have; they should bring that to the personal communication January 25, 2012). The Advisory Council is the maximum expression of participatory communication in their decision making process. Meetings are the perfect vehicle to foster c onversations and discussions around the issues that pertain to the organization. The power is equally distributed amongst all the people involved and decisions are made by
92 those who are directly affected by them. The division of labor by creating sub comm ittees emphasizes the need for collaboration and an orientation towards encouraging members to use their expertise and knowledge for the promotion of the organization. The same applies for the partnerships themselves. They have established leadership group s composed by the representatives from the member organizations and together they reach consensus on the issues that refer to the management and execution of each partnership. A participant representing the private sector commented on those partnerships th at create sub labor division; we all wanted to be a part of every stage and aspect of the partnership personal communication January 27, 2012). There are, how ever, traces of a modernization approach to the management of Aliarse. The concerns expressed by some participants as to the lack of current and updated information is one of those traits of modern communication. Similarly there is a potential risk of some organizations relying too much on Aliarse to lead the efforts in the personal communication January 27, 2012) or talking about the volunteer pro personal communication January 25, 2012) reflect a slight inclination on behalf of Aliarse, to take too much control in some projects. Another participant, representative of a pr ivate sector company, addressed this topic and explained that these issues may be derived from the organizational structure. He commented that at
9 3 is understandab le because they are dedicated to it full personal communication February 10, 2012). It is clear, after an analysis of the data, to determine that the proposition about ed. However, there is room for improvement as participants have pointed out areas where there is still a modernization approach present; an understandable weak link for a small and young organization such as Aliarse. The following chapter will analyze the findings and their relevance to this study. Similarly it will draw conclusions from the data and how this reflects on the organization, its management of partnerships, member perceptions and areas for improvement.
94 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Following the presentation of the data collected, it is necessary to conduct an analysis of what the data represents, identify areas of success as well as areas of improvement for Aliarse. The analysis has been broken down into four main cate gories for a more manageable interpretation of the facts followed by a section addressing the derived from the analysis of the data as it pertains to the organization di rectly. While they may involve other actors, these are findings that affect Aliarse in one or several ways. The second category has to do with partnerships and the analysis that unveiled certain important aspects that relate back to the management and exec ution of multi sector partnerships for development in Aliarse. The third category pertains to information drawn from the data analysis and its connection to the members, those organizations that are either founding members or those who have joined Aliarse in the more recent years as the result of their involvement in a particular partnership. The final category deals with all the aspects of communications that are of utmost importance and relevance to this study. Aliarse After the careful analysis of the da ta, there is no doubt that Aliarse operates as a multi sector partnership itself. The creation of an organization that would bring together representatives from several industries across the private and public sectors is a demonstration of an innate collab saw were large quantities of money being invested in less than strategic ways by the companies in Costa Rica, led them to create a collaboration platform where they could
95 maximize the financial resour ces by using them in a strategic way and create a long lasting effect. It is this same strategic mentality that needs to arise in order to address their communications in the same way. While it is understandable that their financial situation is a top pri ority for the Administrative Board and the Advisory Council, a little more attention to their communications efforts could have a powerful effect. Dedicating more attention to the strategy behind their communication could allow them to direct resources in a more efficient way by addressing the interests and needs of their members, this just at the internal level. When analyzed from the communitarian public relations perspective, it was clear that Aliarse had been created within the parameters of a communi ty organizing model. However, there was no indication that this was a deliberate act but more of a response to the ideal structure for the organization. This advantageous position as community creators put Aliarse ahead of other social responsibility focu sed organizations in Costa foundation and convert to a community nurturing model. While the theory revised for this study coordinator, facilitator and overseer in the partnerships places their public relations communitarian approach at the community involvement level. This is neither wrong nor a limiting factor for success. The reality of Aliarse sets the stage so that the organization thrives and is most effective when operating at this level; its organizational structure requires an interactive and highly nurturing model. This does not mean th at each level is exclusive, on the contrary, Aliarse moves back and forth between levels depending on
96 the tasks that it is addressing. The constant creation of new partnerships and the search for actors to be involved in those partnerships is a clear commu nity organizing role. At partnership places them on a community involvement level. In terms of the participatory paradigm, Aliarse has established a horizontal manage ment structure conducive to an open, inclusive communication style. The Administrative Board, and their roundtable dynamics for decision making set the standard for how the organization should undertake the rest of the communication efforts. The Advisory C ouncil in its collaborative and open design represent one of industries, and multiplicity of resources and qualifications. It is here where the real value of Aliarse lie Lastly, the limitations that Aliarse has encountered, particularly in human and financial resources, have caused hints of modernization to re surface. From the data and the inter actions during interviews, it is possible to deduce that those times when Aliarse does seem to take over too much, or attempts to control certain aspects of a project it is not out of a desire to be in charge, but a lack of clear specifications in the term s of the partnerships. If Aliarse is to maintain a role of facilitator and coordinator, it is important that every partnership has clearly outlined duties and responsibilities for each member so that everyone is sure of what their assignments are. Partner ships With the exception of one, every membership that Aliarse has launched has been successful thus far. Being such a young organization, every partnership is still in the development or execution stage and it is hard to measure impact or results at this point.
97 beneficiaries, the results are overwhelmingly positive. There are several areas for improvement, one of those involves the creation of partnerships with the public s ector. One of the lessons that Aliarse and its members have learned, is that dealing with government agencies entails a significant amount of paper work, bureaucracy and time. Once this initial stage is overcome and the permission is granted for a new part nership, the rest of the process runs notably smoother. However it is that initial stage that usually takes up several months before the members can start working together towards the creation of a successful campaign or program. It would be ideal for Alia rse, if they developed a protocol for partnering with each of the government institutions that are a member of Aliarse. This would enable future partnerships to know exactly what steps to take and assist them to go through the process much faster. By creat ing a guideline for partnering with the public sector, Aliarse is decreasing the learning curve for future members and putting the previously acquired knowledge to good use. Similarly, just as the public sector requires to have written agreements for eac h partnership, Aliarse should make this a standard requirement for all partnerships, regardless of what sector the members belong to. This will establish clear stipulations for terms of agreement, responsibilities and timelines for each of the members. If these agreements are defined collectively among all members, there is no need for Aliarse to step in and take over certain aspects, an action that might be perceived by members as controlling and dominant.
98 Members One of the most positive outcomes from t he interviews was the undeniable consensus in the motivations each member had for joining Aliarse and the partnerships it helps create. Everyone understood that working together would allow them to create bigger and better programs, they could learn from e ach other, and collaborate to use potential for creation of value and continual learning is a strong component of the success Aliarse has had so far. As long as each member, old and new, maintains this vision then the organization will be on the right track to creating strategic, lasting multi sector partnerships for the development of Costa Rica. There is another area for improvement in terms of the expectations members have f or Aliarse. Several participants commented on their desire for Aliarse to be constantly producing new opportunities for collaboration. They expect the management level of the organization to be on the lookout for collaboration opportunities on the public s create solutions. Members are willing to participate and work together in every way possible, but they do require Aliarse to take the initiative in locating those windows of opportunity. Finally, there is a pressing need for a re definition of the Advisory Council. As new members join Aliarse, the founding members have been concerned with the type of decision making power awarded to new members, as well as the requiremen ts that they should meet. As explained in chapter four, the profile for the founding member organizations was very specific and only a handful of organizations, at the time, met the
99 criteria. Now that the importance of social responsibility and multi secto r partnerships has been adopted by many more organizations, they are interested in joining organizations such as Aliarse. While some members are interested in seeing Aliarse grow, others are concerned of what that might mean for their position within the o rganization. Perhaps Aliarse would be best suited with pyramid scheme where members could be ranked according to their level of involvement in the organization. As an example, founding members who made the initial investment of ten thousand dollars would h old a higher position than those members who have recently joined and are paying the monthly fee of three thousand dollars. The higher the position, the more power they have in the decision making processes of the organization. It is important to emphasi ze that new members are encouraged and will, eventually be required. If Aliarse keeps growing at the same pace it is growing now, it will not be too long before the existing members cannot take on more partnerships. This predicted growth makes the definiti on of member tiers even more necessary in order to ensure an effective management of the partnerships and equal opportunity for all members to take part in the initiatives. Communication As a young organization working with some of the biggest private and public organizations in the country, Aliarse has done a surprisingly good job at communicating with its members. There are particular areas for improvement which, if addressed, could significantly improve the relationship between members, and alleviate pa rt of the workload for the staff.
100 There is no discussion in terms of the effectiveness of meetings as a communication channel. With high level, busy representatives for each of the member organizations, bringing people together and using that time to sha re information about the organization seems like the most time efficient way to reach out to them. Nonetheless, several participants pointed out a void in terms of updated, timely information. While the meetings assure the members presence, it is unlikely that they retain everything that is covered during the meetings. There is a need for an interactive, timely, and concise source of information. InfoAliarse, in its yearly editions, is not the right medium to share news about the organization or information that it is important for members to know. With an audience that is extremely busy and constantly bombarded with information, Aliarse needs to develop a tool that is concise, efficient, and attention grabbing. InfoAliarse is better served being an annual r eport with briefs about partnerships, new members, results and the like. This is a tool created less with news sharing purposes, but instead, it is intended to serve as a memoir of the yearly accomplishments as an organization. The current size of the or ganization favors the developmental stage of the communications in Aliarse. It is necessary that the family like environment be taken advantage of, and used to test different approaches for a new, updated channel of communication. This way the channel will be created taking into account the expectations, needs and desires of the target audience. Just like many other aspects in Aliarse, communication processes must be participatory and inclusive. Despite the fact that the Administrative Board and the management level at Aliarse are aware of their lack of communications strategy, other issues such as
101 finances take priority over the communication efforts the organization needs. It is a shame that so much time needs to be devoted to finding new sources of income, and running the actual partnerships when many of these issues could be partially solved with a creative communications strategy. The awareness present at the top management level of Aliarse ne eds to evolve and transform to actions that lead to concrete actions in the communications area. Conclusions and Theoretical Implications The little theoretical work on the communications or public relations aspect of multi sector partnerships for develop ment makes the current research very relevant to the field. The increasing number of public and private sector organizations that are engaging in this type of collaboration projects creates a demand for grounded, solid theory in terms of how to manage the role of communication. The lessons drawn from this research have emphasized the need for a highly involved public relations approach in the creation and execution of multi sector partnerships for development. The communitarian public relations approach theory concerns about particular topics; by establishing different levels of engagement it is multi sector role in the coordination and direction of the projects and partnerships. Similarly, participatory communication was confirmed as a necessary foundatio n for the successful execution and management of multi sector partnerships. The collaborative work dynamic of Aliarse is the key to a wholesome and effective strategy for the partnerships created through the organization. While some participants had
102 reserv ations as to the way particular aspects were handled, the overall evaluation was favorable and highlighted the benefits of participatory communication in Aliarse. Improvements to this specific aspect of communication should be addressed promptly by consult ing with members about their expectations and agreeing on the best way to meet those expectations. If participatory communication and collective decision making has been an effective way of reaching decisions in the past, this should be addressed in the sa me way. The seven Cs of collaboration proved to be an adequate tool for addressing the multiple aspects of multi sector partnerships. All of them were present in the research and the data confirmed a strong emphasis on specific items such as a creation o f value and continual learning. There was, however, one aspect that came up in the data which was not accounted for in the seven Cs: trust. While implicitly covered by the connection item within the seven Cs, trust was a strong enough theme that it is impo rtant to refer to it separately. The limitations of the study make it hard to predict whether trust is a relationship between private and public sectors does require mul ti sector partnerships to address trust issues before entering into a collaboration project. From a grounded theory perspective, it is possible to state that a significant level of trust amongst participants of multi sector partnerships is a fundamental element for a successful collaboration project. Despite the fact that the literature did not review trust as a significant factor, it did allude to it indirectly by acknowledging that lack of trust would be a hindrance in developing a successful partnershi p (Austin, 2000). This
103 research uncovered how important trust between partners is, and how much it can interfere with the development and establishment of a multi sector partnership. An important aspect that the theory has not addressed clearly has to do with a critical voice about multi sector partnerships. Overall participants were extremely positive in their evaluations of this collaboration phenomenon and were convinced that more organizations should be adopting it. The only time participants referenc ed failed multi sector partnerships dealt with cases in which members had entered into the relationship with the wrong motivations or where the organization had been handled so poorly that no progress was ever made. In summary, it is clear that the theor etical frameworks that guided this study have all been confirmed to a great extent. It is also a positive addition to have found particular aspects that drew from the contextual reality of a study located in Costa Rica, and provided insights as to the part icular relationship between the private and public sectors. Research Limitations The researcher has acknowledged the limitations in the study and has attempted to minimize any interference in the collection or analysis of the data. As mentioned in Chapte r 3, the qualitative approach to research raises a number of concerns in terms of the validity of the study; even more so the use of semi structured interviews create the risk of interviewer bias. The research never intended to discard the influence of the interviewer but to use her native Spanish speaking ability and shared nationality with the participants to establish rapport. While the study aimed to conduct the interviews utilizing videoconferencing through Skype, not all participants had access to the software therefore some of the interviews were done through telephone calls. This did
104 not represent a significant obstacle in the analysis of the data but it did hinder the interviewer from reading non Simi larly, the qualitative nature of the present study shed light on some important aspects, nonetheless, there is still much more that could have been unearthed if additional research tools or a quantitative approach had been included. Another limitation th at the study presented was the size of the organization chosen as the sample for the study. The organization, while small and engaged with some of the largest public and private organizations in Costa Rica still has only a small network of institutions tha t would know Aliarse and the partnerships well enough to participate in the study. A larger pool of participants could have contributed to a larger amount and quality of information. Suggestions for Future Research Future research should look to extend be yond the internal communications processes and analyze the external communication efforts of multi sector partnerships. This study proved there is a weakness in the promotion of multi sector partnerships and that it could be hindering the effectiveness of current and future collaborations. Researchers should also look to analyze other existing multi sector partnerships for development in Costa Rica and in other Latin American countries. The trend these countries have followed in terms of their development of public relations and collaboration sets the stage for a deep, cross country analysis of multi sector partnerships in the region. Furthermore, the trust issues discovered in this study should prompt other researchers to dissect this aspect of multi sect or partnerships. It is important to determine whether this was the result of a particular socio economic
105 situation or a prevalent factor in this form of collaboration that has not been accounted for. In addition, the field should attempt to study the co mmunication processes of partnerships that take place without the intermediary role of a nonprofit organization like Aliarse. The examination should focus on analyzing factors such as management and communication when there is no third party involvement. Future research should attempt to use more and diverse methodologies in the analysis of communication management in multi sector partnerships for development. Observation and content analysis are two of the suggested methodology approaches for extended re search. As mentioned earlier, it is important that theory with a critical view of multi sector partnerships be developed. Examination of failed projects for collaboration could shed light on aspects that the theory has yet to cover. Without such a critic al analysis of multi sector partnerships the theory is incomplete. In a similar way, there is an important opportunity for researchers to uncover the true, personal motivations behind the altruism exhibited by participants of multi sector partnerships. W hile it is confirmed that the collective well being is a primary motivating factor for collaboration, participants of these partnerships also receive individual benefits from their involvement; research should attempt to discover what those benefits are.
106 APPENDIX A INTERVIEW GUIDE FOR ALIARSE REPRESENTATIVES English V ersion 1. How were the founding members selected? 2. What strengths and added value does each of the partners bring to Aliarse? 3. How are business decisions made in the organization? a. Who is involved in the decision making process? 4. Who decides how to communicate important news from the organization? a. How do they make these decisions? By themselves, include other people? 5. From international partners, how much influence do they have in the way the organization and partnerships are run? 6. How does Aliarse communicate with the founding members of the organization? 7. How are partnerships created? a. Are partners invited to join partnerships? If yes, could you please explain? b. Do organizations request to join partnerships? If yes, could you please explain? c. How are the tactical aspects of the programs decided? 8. In a partnership, how much power do the partners have in running the programs? 9. How are operational decisions made in the partnerships? 10. How are bu siness decisions made in the partnerships? 11. What role does Aliarse have in the partnerships? 12. How does Aliarse communicate with the members of the partnerships? 13. Who is in charge of the communication in Aliarse? 14. Who is in charge of the communication in the p artnerships? a. Between partners. b. With the beneficiaries of the partnership. 15. What are the top priorities in running a partnership? a. Is communication a priority in the management of the partnership? 16. How are each of the following items addressed in the partnersh ips? a. Connection with the people that make up the partnership. i. With the purpose for which the partnership is created. b. Clarity of the purpose for which the partnership is being created. c. Congruency of the mission, strategy, and values that the partnership is promoting. d. Creation of value for all the partners. e. Communication between partners. f. Continual learning (about and from other partners). g. Commitment to the partnership.
107 APPENDIX B GUA DE ENTREVISTA P ARA COLA BORADORES Y ADMINISTRADORES D E ALIARSE Spanish Version 1. Cmo se realiz la seleccin de las organizaciones fundadoras? 2. Cules son las fortalezas y el valor agregado que trae cada miembro a Aliarse? 3. Cmo se toman decisiones de negocios en la organizacin? a. Quines estn involucrados en la toma de d ecisiones? 4. Quin decide cmo se comunican las noticias importantes en la organizacin? a. Cmo se toman estas decisiones? La persona responsable, se incluye a otros? 5. Los aliados internacionales, qu tanta influencia tienen en la forma en que se maneja la o rganizacin y las alianzas? 6. Cmo se comunica Aliarse con las organizaciones fundadoras? 7. Cmo se crean las alianzas? a. Los aliados reciben invitaciones para participar? Favor explicar. b. Los aliados solicitan unirse a las alianzas? Favor explicar c. Cmo se deciden los aspectos tcticos de los programas a ejecutar? 8. En las alianzas, cunto poder de decisin/direccin tienen los miembros? 9. Cmo se toman las decisiones en las alianzas? 10. Qu papel juega Aliarse en las alianzas? 11. Cmo se comunica Ali arse con los miembros de las alianzas? 12. Quin est a cargo de la comunicacin en Aliarse? 13. Quin est a cargo de la comunicacin con las alianzas? a. Entre los miembros b. Con los beneficiarios de la alianza 14. Es la comunicacin una prioridad en el manejo de l a alianza? 15. Qu tratamiento se le da a los siguientes temas? a. Conexin con las personas que componen la alianza i. con el propsito por el cual la alianza fue creada. b. Claridad del propsito por el cual la alianza fue creada. c. Congruencia entre la misin, la estrategia y los valores que la alianza est promoviendo d. Creacin de valor e. Comunicacin entre los miembros f. Aprendizaje continuo (acerca de y entre los miembros) g. Compromiso con la alianza
108 APPENDIX C INTERVIEW GUIDE FOR FOUNDING MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS AND REGULAR MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS OF ALIARSE English V ersion 1. What motivated your organization to join Aliarse? 2. What strengths and added value does your organization bring to Aliarse? 3. Are you involved in any specific partnerships currently? a. If no, what partnerships have you been involved with in the past? 4. How are business decisions made in the partnerships? a. Who is involved in the decision making process? 5. What role does Aliarse have in the partnerships? 6. What r ole does your organization have in the partnerships? 7. How are the tactical aspects of the programs decided? 8. How much power does your organization have in running the programs in the partnerships? 9. How does Aliarse communicate with you as a member organizatio n? a. How often does Aliarse communicate with you? b. What channels does Aliarse use to communicate with you? (email, meetings, phone calls, etc) c. Are you satisfied with the way Aliarse communicates with you? 10. Is there anything you would improve about the communic ation aspect? a. What and how would you improve it? 11. Who is in charge of the communication in the partnerships? a. Between partners b. With the beneficiaries of the partnership 12. In your organization, who is the contact person for each partnership that the organization gets involved with? 13. What are the top priorities in running a partnership? a. Is communication a priority in the management of the partnership? 14. How are each of the following items addressed in the partnerships? a. Connection with both the people that make up the partnership i. With the purpose for which the partnership is created. b. Clarity of the purpose for which the partnership is being created. c. Congruency of the mission, strategy, and values that the partnership is promoting. d. Creation of value. e. Commun ication between partners. f. Continual learning (about and from other partners). g. Commitment to the partnership.
109 APPENDIX D GUA DE ENTREVISTA PARA MIEMBROS FUNDADORES Y MIEMBROS REGULARES DE ALIARSE Spanish Version 1. Qu motiv a su organizacin a unirse a Aliarse? 2. Qu fortalezas y valor agregado considera que su organizacin aporta a Aliarse? 3. Actualmente su organizacin est involucrada en alguna alianza en particular? a. De no ser as, en qu alianzas ha estado involucrada su organizacin en el pasado? 4. Cmo se toman las decisiones de negocios en la alianza? a. Quines estn involucrados en el proceso de toma de decisiones? 5. Qu papel juega Aliarse en las alianzas? 6. Qu papel juega su organizacin en las alianzas? 7. Cmo se definen los aspectos tcticos de los programas? 8. Qu tanto poder tiene su organizacin en el manejo de las alianzas? 9. Cmo se comunica Aliarse con usted como miembro fundador? a. Con qu frecuencia se comunica Aliarse con su organizacin? b. Qu cana les utiliza Aliarse para comunicarse con su organizacin? (emails, llamadas, reuniones, etc) c. Est usted satisfecho con la forma en la que Aliarse se comunica con su organizacin? 10. Hay algo que usted mejorara en el rea de comunicacin entre Aliarse y su organizacin? a. Qu cosas cambiara y cmo lo hara? 11. Quin est a cargo de la comunicacin en las alianzas? a. Entre miembros b. Con los beneficiarios de la alianza 12. En su organizacin, quin es el contacto para cada alianza en la que la organizacin se involucr a? 13. Cules son las prioridades a la hora de manejar la alianza? a. Es la comunicacin una prioridad en el manejo de la alianza? 14. Qu tratamiento se le da a los siguientes temas? a. Conexin con las personas que componen la alianza i. Con el propsito por el cual la alianza fue creada. b. Claridad del propsito por el cual la alianza fue creada. c. Congruencia entre la misin, la estrategia y los valores que la alianza est promoviendo. d. Creacin de valor.
110 e. Comunicacin entre los miembros. f. Aprendizaje continuo (acerca de y entre los miembros). g. Compromiso con la alianza.
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115 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Monica Morales Lisac was born and raised in San Jo s, Costa Rica. She earned elations f rom the Universidad Interamericana de Costa Rica in 2007, the same year she started working for Comunicacin Corporativa Ketchum. In 2010 she was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue her graduate degree in the United States of America. She selected th of Jou rnalism and Communicatio ass communication with a focus on public r elations. the area o f social justice and education.