Strengthening Cross-Sector Partnerships for Sustainable Development through Improved Partnership Communication and Knowledge Management

Degree Name

MS in Management

First Advisor

Ken Williams


This study explores ways of improving partnership communication within the context of cross-sector partnership (CSP) for sustainable development (SD). Research included an online survey with individuals working in sustainable agriculture and interviews with individuals working in Farm to Schools (FtS) projects. This area of focus was chosen in order to explore communication around the shared goal of improving regional food systems, but is meant to be applicable to others working in SD. Research for this study focused on CSP communication in relation to three main areas of inquiry: 1) impact of sector-based predispositions, 2) reasons for partnerships initiation and 3) methods of knowledge sharing/management?

This research is based upon the hypothesis that, in order to build capacity of organizations within the SD community, individuals must learn to more effectively navigate the complexities of CSP communication and knowledge management. The five disciplines of a learning organization [Senge 1990] and the four-frame model for reframing organizations [Bolman and Deal 2003] were called upon for data analysis in order to generate pathways to better organizational management through improved systems thinking “as an alternative to the pervasive ‘reductionism’ in Western culture,” which seeks “simple answers to complex issues,” [Senge 1990, 185]. The findings are meant to be applicable for individuals and organizations that wish to improve CSP communication and overall synergetic impact of inter-organizational partnership. Towards this end, this study uses the frames and disciplines to illustrate one guide for improved CSP communication. The researcher has developed a prototypical knowledge management tool with this purpose in mind.


Business Administration, Management, and Operations

This document is currently not available here.