This year's small but vibrant edition of the MOPAN conference organized by Pam Hearne at the Strathclyde Business School had a lot to offer for adepts of multi-organisational partnerships, alliances and networks. With contributions from the health sector to the construction sector, cases from India to Panama and work forms from keynotes to workshops, the conference was very enjoyable. We had papers and an improvised workshop on the location and forms of leadership in inter-organizational collaboration. A theory workshop led by Steve Cropper led to animated discussions about the nature and value of ancient, modern, symbolic-interpretive and postmodern theoretical contributions to the study of inter-organizational relations. Sandra Schruijer introduced us to the psychodynamics of inter-organizational collaboration and the role of fear (fear of taking the lead, fear of loosing power, fear of rejection, etc.). Invited speaker Nic Beech entertained us with an analysis of organising practices in the creative industries of folk and classical music. A number of people (including PhD students from the Utrecht-Nijmegen Programme on Partnerships, UNPOP) discussed business-ngo partnerships, both from the perspective of companies (CSR) and from the perspective of ngo's (activism). We also had the opportunity to engage with Scottish tradition in a whisky tasting at the Corinthian Club - for those interested, among the rich and rounded Singleton, the delicate and floral Glenkinchie, the full bodied Talisker and the fruity and spicy Dalwhinnie, the latter got the majority vote!
I'm already busy organising the 19th Annual Conference on Multi-Organisational Partnerships, Alliances and Networks (MOPAN 2012), which will take place from July 2nd – 4th 2012 at Wageningen. A conference website will be on-line soon at http://www.mopan2012.wur.nl