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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions
Agree on roles and responsibilities;
Establish compatible policies, procedures, and other means to operate across agency boundaries;
Develop mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on results;
Reinforce agency accountability for collaborative efforts through agency plans and reports; and
Reinforce individual accountability for collaborative efforts through performance management systems.8
Box 1.1 summarizes conclusions from two reports on international space program cooperation that highlight similar conclusions. Similar general conclusions have been reached when considering partnerships outside the space sciences. A 1995 RAND report, Pros and Cons of International Weapons Procurement Collaboration,9 used case study evidence to identify many of the same attributes that are associated with successful U.S.-European programs for co-development of weapons systems.
In a study commissioned by the Southern Area Consortium of Human Services (SACHS)10 on the role of interagency collaboration11 in producing information relevant to county directors as they address issues of service integration, the authors note that “the first and perhaps most compelling motivation to collaborate is that collaboration has come to enjoy broad acceptance in political and professional circles as a way to address a variety of problems in the human service system.”12 In addition, the study’s authors note that “the policy environment, reflecting conventional wisdom on collaboration, is replete with exhortations, mandates, and other incentives for public agencies to work across agency boundaries.”13
The external factors driving collaboration in human services are similar to the factors driving collaboration in Earth and space science missions; that is, the policy environment is encouraging, even pushing, collaborations. Also important to note is that the guidance offered by the present committee regarding conditions for successful collaboration is similar to that of SACHS study’s four “prerequisites” to collaboration:14
Incentive—mandated versus voluntary collaboration;
Willingness—the level of trust among participants, shared values, open communication, and a commitment to making it work;
Ability—relevant knowledge and skills; and
Capacity—the existence of relevant rules, regulations, norms, communication systems, etc. that can enable collaboration.
These factors map well with the committee’s findings, described in Chapter 3, regarding the impact of top-down versus bottom-up imperatives to collaborate and the anecdotal reports the committee received regarding the importance of a shared vision for a multiagency effort, good communications, and acceptance at all levels of the collaborating organizations.
Ibid.; see detailed discussion on pp. 10-25.
M.A. Lorell and J.F. Lowell, Pros and Cons of International Weapons Procurement Collaboration, RAND Monograph/Report Series, MR-565-OSD, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif., 1995.
The Southern Area Consortium of Human Services (SACHS), a county/university partnership, is a forum for County Human Services Agency directors in southern California and School of Social Work deans to explore and exchange ideas and information on issues facing public human services, and to develop strategies for addressing these needs.
In the SACHS-commissioned study, “collaboration” is defined as “a broad concept that encompasses relationships, formal and informal, between programs in an agency or across agencies in which the parties share or exchange resources in order to achieve common goals.”
Southern Area Consortium of Human Services (SACHS), Seeking Better Performance Through Interagency Collaboration: Prospects andChallenges, prepared by R. Patti, T. Packard, D. Daly, J. Tucker-Tatlow, and K. Prosek, with the assistance of A. Potter and C. Gibson, SACHS, San Diego, Calif., February 2003, available at http://theacademy.sdsu.edu/programs/SACHS/research.htm, p. vii.
SACHS, Seeking Better Performance Through Interagency Collaboration: Prospects and Challenges, 2003, p. vii.
P. Robertson, Interorganizational relationships: Key issues for integrated services, pp. 67-78 in Universities and Communities: RemakingProfessional and Interprofessional Education for the Next Century (J. McCroskey and S. Einbinder, eds.), Praeger Publishers, Westport, Conn., 1998.