How do public private partnerships influence business school performance in English-speaking Caribbean?

  • Kamla Mungal

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business Administration


This thesis addresses the question of how business schoolsestablished as public privatepartnerships (PPPs) within a regional university in the English-speaking Caribbean survived for over twenty-one years and achieved legitimacy in their environment. The aim of the study was to examine how public and private sector actors contributed to the evolution of the PPPs. A social network perspective provided a broad relational focus from which to explore the phenomenon and engage disciplinary and middle-rangetheories to develop explanations. Legitimacy theory provided an appropriate
performance dimension from which to assess PPP success. An embedded multiple-case research design, with three case sites analysed at three levels including the country and university environment, the PPP as a firm and the subgroup level constituted the methodological framing of the research process. The analysis techniques included four methods but relied primarily on discourse and social network analysis of interview data from 40 respondents across the three sites. A staged
analysis of the evolution of the firm provided the ‘time and effects’ antecedents which formed the basis for sense-making to arrive at explanations of the public-private
relationship-influenced change.
A conceptual model guided the study and explanations from the cross-case analysis were used to refine the process model and develop a dynamic framework and set of theoretical propositions that would underpin explanations of PPP success and legitimacy in matched contexts through analytical generalisation. The study found that
PPP success was based on different models of collaboration and partner resource contribution that arose from a confluence of variables including the development of
shared purpose, private voluntary control in corporate governance mechanisms and boundary spanning leadership. The study contributes a contextual theory that explains how PPPs work and a research agenda of ‘corporate governance as inspiration’ from a
sociological perspective of ‘liquid modernity’. Recommendations for policy and management practice were developed.
Date of Award1 Jun 2012
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorHelen Higson (Supervisor) & Ian Combe (Supervisor)


  • PPP's
  • inspirtational governance
  • competitiveness
  • private voluntarism
  • boundary spanning leadership
  • legitimacy in governance

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