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A multiple case study of an interorganizational collaboration: Exploring the first year of an industry partnership focused on middle school engineering education

Gillen, AL; Grohs, JR; Matusovich, HM; Kirk, GR; (2021) A multiple case study of an interorganizational collaboration: Exploring the first year of an industry partnership focused on middle school engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education 10.1002/jee.20403. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Calls to improve learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and particularly engineering, present significant challenges for school systems. Partnerships among engineering industry, universities, and school systems to support learning appear promising, but current work is limited in its conclusions because it lacks a strong connection to theoretical work in interorganizational collaboration. Purpose/Hypothesis: This study aims to reflect more critically on the process of how organizations build relationships to address the following research question: In a public–private partnership to integrate engineering into middle school science curriculum, how do stakeholder characterizations of the collaborative process align with existing frameworks of interorganizational collaboration?. Design/Method: This qualitative, embedded multiple case study considered in-depth pre- and post-year interviews with teachers, administrators, industry, and university personnel during the first year of the Partnering with Educators and Engineers in Rural Schools (PEERS) program. Transcripts were analyzed using a framework of interorganizational collaboration operationalized for our context. Results: Results provide insights into stakeholder perceptions of collaborative processes in the first year of the PEERS program across dimensions of collaboration. These dimensions mapped to three central discussion points with relevance for school–university–industry partnerships: school collaboration as an emergent and negotiated process, tension in collaborating across organizations, and fair share in collaborating toward a social goal. Conclusions: Taking a macro-level look at the collaborative processes involved enabled us to develop implications for collaborative stakeholders to be intentional about designing for future success. By systematically applying a framework of collaboration and capitalizing on the rich situational findings possible through a qualitative approach, we shift our understanding of collaborative processes in school–university–industry partnerships for engineering education and contribute to the development of collaboration theory.

Type: Article
Title: A multiple case study of an interorganizational collaboration: Exploring the first year of an industry partnership focused on middle school engineering education
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/jee.20403
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jee.20403
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Engineering Education published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society for Engineering Education. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: cross-sector, industry involvement, middle school qualitative STEM
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10130649
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