In collaboration with WFP, TPI has recently published the second in its ‘Navigator’ toolbook series: The Partnership Culture Navigator. The toolbook has been designed as a practical guide to help users navigate the challenges of dealing with different organisational cultures when working in cross-sector partnerships. Differences in organisational and professional cultures are a common source of misunderstanding in international collaboration: they can reduce the efficiency and the impact of cross-sector partnerships and can generate risk. The Navigator outlines a number of key issues for consideration and proposes some achievable actions that can be taken both to make it easier to deal with different cultures and to make your own organisational culture more partnership-friendly.
The Navigator is intended for strategic and operational staff in any organisation for which working in partnership is integral to the achievement of its strategic mission. This will include policy-makers, senior managers, partnership specialists, human resources staff and operational field staff. It assumes that working in cross-sector partnership is of considerable importance to the organisation. It also assumes that the individuals or teams using this Navigator will have some role and capacity as agents of change – actors in an organisation who might, at some level, be able to instigate, lead or catalyse change. Such changeagents may be working independently or in collaboration with an external consultant. In either case the Navigator is designed to identify potential problems and to suggest routes to possible solutions.
The booklet aims to provide some insights into the cultural misalignment that can occur between organisations in cross-sector partnership and to offer some practical step-by-step guidance on how to deal with such misalignment. Its observations and recommendations are rooted in the belief that even relatively small changes in the way that an organisation operates will generate rewards in terms of its ability to manage valued external relations. The material in the Navigator derives both from research and from real-life practice. Four of the sections also
contain case studies provided by WFP staff. These have been selected both to illustrate key points raised in the main text and to provide practical examples of solutions to the challenges of building partnerships between culturally