A grounded theory on collaborative interactions in a community-university partnership : the case of youth in the public space

alexis dewaele, Lindsey Anderson, Noel Klima, Emelien Lauwerier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Research impact is at least partly generated through collaborative interactions, yet the associations between knowledge production and impact are far more complex than relatively simple linear models generally describe. Aims and objectives: In this case study, we focus on a community-university partnership and try to answer the question, ‘What are the conditions that facilitate or hinder successful collaborative interactions aimed towards solving a shared challenge between partners from different organisations?’ Methods: A set of four co-creation sessions with diverse stakeholders was organised with the aim of tackling the nuisance caused by youth in a specific deprived neighbourhood in Belgium. The sessions were video-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed following a Grounded Theory (GT) approach to develop theoretical understandings of the process of knowledge production and research impact. Findings: Roles and mandates of individual stakeholder representatives determine (and hinder) their access to (confidential) information, but also their visibility and accessibility towards youth as end users. Achieving positive outcomes through collaboration was perceived by stakeholders as slowly evolving towards small successes, and was facilitated by being able to accept failure, working in a climate of trust, developing a shared identity, managing expectations, informally sharing information, and being able to connect with youth. Discussion and conclusions: We reflect on the importance of overcoming organisational asymmetries in collaborative interactions through installing feedback loops, and through the particular roles of boundary organisations, boundary objects, and practical tools that can help steer iterative collaborative interactions towards positive impact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-274
JournalEvidence & Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes


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