University-Community Partnership Models: Employing Organizational Management Theories of Paradox and Strategic Contradiction

Amanda Marie Bowers


University–community (U-C) partnerships have the potential to respond to society’s most pressing needs through engaged scholarship. Despite this promise, partnerships face paradoxical tensions and inherent contradictions that are often not fully addressed in U-C partnership models or frameworks, or in practice. This article seeks to explore the root causes of tensions from a historical and structural perspective, reexamining traditional models of U-C partnership collaborations. Organizational ideas of paradox and strategic contradiction are then presented as a new lens through which to see and influence collaborative work. A framework for modifying current U-C partnership models is introduced, along with a discussion of limitations and implications for research and practice.

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