Exploring collaboration success factors for intermediary organizations in public-private partnerships An analysis of public-private partnerships in the European traffic management sector.
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In recent times, public and private organizations have realized that their ability to solve traffic related problems through individual innovations are reaching their limits. Collaboration between public and private organizations is not self-evident, as organizations may need to share sensitive information. To solve this problem, an intermediary organization can be used. How the public, private, and intermediary organizations in this sector can work together to solve these problems is not yet researched. In literature, critical success factors for collaboration in public-private partnerships are researched. Critical success factors encompass internal and external organizational factors that are needed to have a successful partnership. This research aims to identify factors that are important for the inter-organizational side to collaborating in a public-private partnership. Therefore, this research is led by the following research question: “What factors are important for collaborating with an intermediary organization in a public-private partnership in the traffic management sector?” To answer this research question, a qualitative cross-sectional multiple case study on seven pilot projects from the Socrates2.0 project was performed. The Socrates2.0 project is co-financed by the European Union. Representatives of organizations collaborating in this project, as well as an independent expert were interviewed using a semi-structured interview design. Analyzing the interviews, it is found that some factors found in theory are more important for collaboration than others. Due to the emphasis on data sharing in the project, purpose limitation of the shared data is one of the most important factors for collaboration with an intermediary organization, together with a detailed and flexible project planning to incorporate external developments, technological or situational like the Covid-19 pandemic. Transparency is important to generate trust between organizations, and the use of standards enables collaboration with larger organizations and scalability of services. Additionally, this study identifies advantages for a public or private organization in an intermediary role, how importance of factors can differ over different cooperation models, and that factors regarding data protection are more important for organizations in a certain intermediary role. This research shows that for the traffic management sector it is valuable to add factors on data driven partnerships, to the theory of critical success factors in public-private partnerships. This research also shows that the sector in which a partnership takes place influences the importance of factors, and suggests further research to identify how the importance of factors will differ in non-subsidized and commercial traffic management public-private partnerships.