Public/Nonprofit Contracting

Our studies of nonprofit-county contracting have emphasized the role of human service managers in fostering interorganizational coordination through interpersonal exchange. Two studies have examined how public and nonprofit managers resolve contract-based organizational tensions while serving clients effectively and meeting public accountability requirements. 

The first study, drawing on dyadic case studies of three county agencies and contracted nonprofit partners, highlighted the collaborative nature of human service contracting amidst technical challenges related to the complexity of human service delivery, and described how managers address these dynamics to organize and deliver human services (McBeath et al., 2017). 

Findings from the second study suggested that managerial roles, contract capacity, and contract-focused boundary spanning inform efforts by public managers to coordinate services with their nonprofit counterparts (McBeath et al., 2019). Findings from nonprofit managers suggested that commitment to and satisfaction with the contract relationship are influenced by communication quality, organizational trust, contract flexibility, and partner interdependence (Chuang et al., 2020). Nonprofit and public managers shared perspectives on the characteristics of effective contract communications, including transparency, a balance of flexibility and consistency, and timeliness (Carnochan et al., 2019).