Wood, Donna J., and Barbara Gray. 1991. “Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Collaboration.” The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 27 (2): 139–62. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021886391272001.

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August 2, 2018

Critical Commentary

Abstract: The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science presents two special issues on collaborative alliances that examine the contributions and limits of existing theories for explaining collaboration, and that clarify and expand our understanding of this phenomenon. In this introduction, the following major theoretical perspectives are applied to explain collaboration and collaborative alliances: resource dependence theory; corporate social performance/institutional economics theory; strategic management/social ecology theory; microeconomics theory; institutional/negotiated order theory; and political theory. The nine case research articles in the two special issues analyze a wide variety of collaborative alliances and provide unique insights. The articles' contributions, the levels of analysis they focus on, and the ways they address three broad issues of collaborative alliances-preconditions, process, and outcomes-are discussed. No single theoretical perspective provides an adequate foundation for a general theory of collaboration, but the articles point the way to the construction of such a theory.