• Madoda Sitshange Social Work Practitioner, Pretoria, South Africa



The nature of problems experienced by social workers’ clients has often challenged social workers to collaborate with other organisations (Patel, Hochfeld, & Selipsky, 2008). The concept of collaboration holds much promise, yet this delicate and complex process presents numerous risks of failure, threatening both the process of collaboration and the outcomes being sought. There are many barriers to inter-organisational collaboration. Consequently, there is a need for applicable knowledge and skills in the direct practice of partnership development in social development (Lombard & Van Rensburg, 2001) – inter-organisational collaboration being one form of partnership development. This report explores and describes the concept of inter-organisational collaboration as a social service delivery strategy as very few guidelines exist that could assist in the planning and managing of collaborative partnerships ensuring that it achieves its intended aims and goals of delivering quality social services (Lombard & Van Rensburg, 2001). A relevant theoretical perspective as presented here should inform the process of developing practice guidelines in collaborative approaches.


Download data is not yet available.


ABRAMSON, J.S. & ROSENTHAL, B.B. 1995. Interdisciplinary and interorganizational collaboration. In: Encyclopedia of Social Work (19th ed), Issue 2. Washington, DC: NASW Press.

ALTER, C. & HAGE, J. 1993. Organizations working together. London: Sage Publications.

CLARK, R.W. 1992. Evaluating the collaboration process: building coalitions. The Ohio State University Extension.

FERLIE, E. & McGIVERN, G. 2003. Relationships between health care organisations: a critical overview of the literature and a research agenda. A report for the National Co-ordinating Centre for NHS Service Delivery and Organisation R & D (NCCSDO). Centre for Public Services Organisations: The Business School. Imperial College, London.

FRIEDLANDER, E.A. & APTER, R.Z. 1980. Introduction to social welfare. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentic-Hall.

GANTER, G. & YEAKEL, M. 1980. Human behaviour and the social environment: a perspective for social work practice. New York: Columbia University Press.

HARDING, O. & WHITE, L. 2002. Collaboration within a health action zone project- a case study. A report for the LSL HAZ. London.

KEEVY, C. & ALPASLAN, A.H. 2001. A needs assessment for a relationship-guidance programme for partners in a gay male relationship. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 37(2):113-124.

LOMBARD, A. 2008. The implementation of the white paper for social welfare: a ten-year review. The Social Work Practitioner-Researcher, 20(2):154-173.

LOMBARD, A. & VAN RENSBURG, J.A. 2001. Coalitions: a practice framework for sustainable development. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 37(4):325-342.

LOUW, L.R. 1998. Changing social welfare policy in South Africa. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 34(1):134-143.

LUND COMMITTEE 1996. Report of the Lund Committee on Child and Family Support. Pretoria: Government Printer.

McKENDRICK, B.W. 1990. The future of social work in South Africa. SocialWork/Maatskaplike Werk, 26(1):10-18.

McKENDRICK, B.W. 2001. The promise of social work: directions for the future. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 37(2):105-112.

MIDDLEMAN, R.R. & WOOD, G.G. 1999. Skills for direct practice in social work. New York: Colombia University Press.

MOUTON, J. 1996. Understanding social research. Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers.

MULLEN, J. 2008. Best practices in inter-organizational collaboration: a how to manual for organizations working to integrate services for persons with ASD and their families. A project of The California Department of Developmental Services.

NEUMAN, W.L. 1997. Social research methods: qualitative and quantitative approaches. London: Allyn and Bacon.

OSPINA, S. & SAZ-CARRANZA, A. 2005. Paradox and collaboration in coalition work. A paper prepared for presentation at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, “A New Vision of Management In The 21st Century”, August 5-10, Honolulu, Hawaii.

OXFAM. 2007. Case study on the Phelang Community Centre: facilitating multi-sectoral collaboration in Limpopo, South Africa. A series of reports on the Joint Oxfam HIV and AIDS Program (JOHAP). Oxfam International: Case study No. 05.

PATEL, L. 1992. Restructuring social welfare: options for South Africa. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.

PATEL, L. 2003. Social development in a society in transition. Working Paper No. 03-18. Center for Social Development: George Warren Brown School of Social Work. Washington: Washington University in St. Louis.

PATEL, L. 2005. Social welfare and social development in South Africa. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.

PATEL, L., HOCHFELD, T. & SELIPSKY, L. 2008. The implication of the White Paper for Social Welfare in the NGO sector. Johannesburg: Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg.

REILLY, T. 2001. Collaboration in action: an uncertain process. Administration in Social Work, 25(1):53-74.

SCOTT, D. 2003. Collaboration: a few reflections. Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth: Strategic Directions Meeting for Members, 8 December 2003.

SEWPAUL, V. 2001. Economic globalisation and social policy reform: social work curricula in the South African context. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 37(4):309-324.

SMOCK, K. 1999. Building effective partnerships: the process and structure of collaboration. [Online] Available: [Accessed: 04/09/2002].

VORSTER, J. & ROSSOUW, H. 1997. Transforming state support for children and families in South Africa: single mother households footing the bill. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 33(4):315-332.

WHITE PAPER FOR SOCIAL WELFARE. 1997. Government Gazette, 386 (18166). Pretoria: Government Printer.

WINER, M. & RAY, K. 1996. Collaboration handbook: creating, sustaining, and enjoying the journey. Melbourne: Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.




How to Cite