Urban regeneration, poverty, innovation and human services, all represent complex issues that today hardly see the intervention of one single organisation. In this dissertation, we focus on why and how different public and private organisations collaborate to better tackle similar ‘wicked issues’ in regional development. First, we examine what determines collaboration to emerge (i). In doing so, we argue that drivers are not a single block of forces acting in the same direction. Thus, when unravelling the determinants of collaboration, we consider both motivation and contingencies that stem from the organisational and institutional milieux. The second aspect we consider in the framework is the process (ii). To aid the understanding of the process and its value, we elaborate and use the concept of synergy to assess how and the extent to which partners through their working relationship generate ‘new’ patterns of action and thinking. We employ the institutional theory and the resource dependence one to strengthen the power of our explanation of both the formation phase and the developmental one (i.e. process). Two priorities of EU cohesion policy served as a context – research and innovation and social inclusiveness – compared across three European regions: Silesia, Saxony and Apulia. Document analysis and semi-structured interviews served as material for our empirical enquiry. Our findings show that organisations – both public and non-public – collaborate not only for resource needs but also for satisfying social preferences (like increasing public welfare). Likewise, institutional logics flowing from regulative and cognitive constructions have a shaping role on collaboration formation by either undermining or encouraging it. Secondly, our framework for measuring synergy revealed that 'learning' and 'mutual meanings' are salient characteristics of the process as highlighted by participants. This study deepens the debate around the influence of context constraints, alongside actors' motivation on building a collaboration. Concomitantly, it contributes to the research exploring the dynamic nature of the process and its value in understanding how actors interact and the benefits they reap at early stages.
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