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A contingency framework on partnership risk

Tobias Krause (Department of Public Management, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 6 May 2014




The purpose of this paper is to analyze and compare the specific contingencies of partnership risk in shared equity public-private partnerships (PPPs) with the contingencies of privately held, loose related PPPs.


Drawing on instrumental and relational accountability perspectives, the author formulates theoretical propositions on partnership risk.


The author conclude that loose related PPPs are characterized by high expertise and a higher risk of contract incompleteness by reason of opportunism. Shared ownership PPPs are characterized by lower opportunism but stronger goal ambiguities and role conflicts. These relationships are threatened by political micromanagement, agency capture and bailout problems.

Research limitations/implications

The study offers an analytical frame of propositions and provides avenues for further research on partnership risk.

Practical implications

The author suggest risk mitigation strategies for tight and loose related PPPs.


Identifying crucial contingencies from both an instrumental and a relational perspective, the study makes a contribution to cooperation research in PPPs.



The author would like to thank Prof. Dr Frank Bannister, Dominik Vogel and Prof. Dr Isabella Proeller for improvements and comments on former versions of this paper. The author would also like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful insights and suggestions.


Krause, T. (2014), "A contingency framework on partnership risk", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 317-333.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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