Analysing institutional partnerships in development: a contract between equals or a loaded process?
Morse, S. and McNamara, N. (2006) Analysing institutional partnerships in development: a contract between equals or a loaded process? Progress in Development Studies, 6 (4). pp. 321-336. ISSN 1477-027X
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1191/1464993406ps146oa
Partnerships are complex, diverse and subtle relationships, the nature of which changes with time, but they are vital for the functioning of the development chain. This paper reviews the meaning of partnership between development institutions as well as some of the main approaches taken to analyse the relationships. The latter typically revolve around analyses based on power, discourse, interdependence and functionality. The paper makes the case for taking a multianalytical approach to understanding partnership but points out three problem areas: identifying acceptable/unacceptable trade-offs between characteristics of partnership, the analysis of multicomponent partnerships (where one partner has a number of other partners) and the analysis of long-term partnership. The latter is especially problematic for long-term partnerships between donors and field agencies that share an underlying commitment based on religious beliefs. These problems with current methods of analysing partnership are highlighted by focusing upon the Catholic Church-based development chain, linking donors in the North (Europe) and their field partners in the South (Abuja Ecclesiastical Province, Nigeria). It explores a narrated history of a relationship with a single donor spanning 35 years from the perspective of one partner (the field agency).