Working towards a collaborative advantage : organisational learning through performance measurement and management as organisational control
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Inter-organisational collaborations are resource intensive and fraught with complexities which combine to make management challenging. Studies of collaborations try to discover what makes for a successful collaborative relationship and thereby achieving a ‘collaborative advantage.’ The theory of collaborative advantage focuses on the complex micro-processes of participation in collaborative initiatives, demonstrating the multiple theoretical themes that exist in the lifespan of a collaboration. The theorisation of themes within collaborations show that they have an overlapping effect on one another and are therefore complex. Creating a theoretical perspective of each theme provides conceptual handles as a basis for action to be used in isolation. By combining organisational control theory and organisational learning theory in order to expand the theoretical perspective of organisational learning as a conceptual handle, this thesis develops the theory of collaborative advantage. The combination of theories enables the development of a model for the management of organisational learning through organisational controls in inter-organisational collaborations. It thus answers the research question: “In collaborative organisations, how does performance measurement and management impact organisational learning in the development of collaborative advantage?” To underpin the study, the literature review examines theories of collaborative advantage, organisational learning and performance measurement and management (PMM) as organisational control in an inter-organisational context. These findings highlight a gap in collaboration theory which is not addressed by either theories of organisational learning or PMM. The knowledge that exists is not yet supported by empirical evidence but allows for the creation of a conceptual framework and literature-based research propositions that shape this study. This informs a multi-case study protocol focusing on five UK based not-for-profit collaborations, taking a critical realist approach to research the causality of performance measurement and management on organisational learning. Data collection techniques include semi-structured interviews, documentary analysis, and observations. Through a template analysis, within case data findings are drawn which are subsequently put through a cross-case data analysis.