Anders Barslund Grøn

Will Teamwork Make the Dream Work? Investigating Transversal Collaboration in Public Service Delivery

The structure of public sectors worldwide is characterized by a division of labor, delimited accountability, and professional specialization. This often results in silo-based public sectors, organized hierarchically to ensure efficiency. However, silos face challenges such as departmentalism, tunnel vision, and a tendency to become single-purpose entities. These challenges make collaboration across organizational boundaries difficult, yet essential, when dealing with complex, interdependent public issues. This dissertation examines the concept of transversal collaboration in public service delivery, focusing on how public leaders and employees can effectively align with other organizations. Transversal leadership is proposed as a key concept in facilitating such collaboration, and it involves directing, aligning, and committing employees to shared tasks with external partners. Transversal leadership behavior is influenced by leadership training, leader credibility, and the ability to follow through on leadership initiatives. Furthermore, transversal leadership positively affects interorganizational coordination and collaborative engagement, making it an important lever to strengthen interorganizational collaboration in a sustainable manner. Also, employees are driven by their collaborative self-efficacy, although it is a stable construct empirically that does not seem to be influenced solely by verbal persuasion-based interventions. However, collaborative self-efficacy may still have value as a tool for personnel management. Overall, transversal collaboration and transversal leadership are critical in addressing complex public service challenges. This requires public leaders and employees to operate beyond their organizational boundaries and enhance coordination and engagement. Finally, the dissertation discusses the implications and limitations of the findings and proposes directions for future research.


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