Cross-Organizational Learning in Humanitarian Con-sortia: A Case Study of the Dutch Relief Alliance

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The questions of collective learning and evidence-based aid are salient for the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance. Addressing the gap in evidence on the added value of humanitarian consortia from a knowledge-sharing perspective, the research unpacks how learning is stimulated in INGO collaborative frameworks and purposefully applied to improve the quality of emergency assistance, specifically in the case of the Dutch Relief Alliance. Through a qualitative case study methodology including 15 semi-structured key informant interviews, a document study, and ethnographic observations, the thesis draws a comprehensive map of structures, processes, and instruments enabling cross-organizational learning. It brings together extensive literature on knowledge-based aid, dichotomies between tacit-explicit and strategic-operational knowledge, as well as network learning in the private sector. Stepping outside of conventional roles between donors and INGOs, the DRA case study shows the potential for transformative partnership in humanitarian consortia through cross-organizational exchange and learning, substantively reducing INGO competition through collaboration. Tellingly, factors such as flexibility, realistic ambitions with proportionate capacity, reachability and interaction of reciprocal positions, ownership of learning, and deliberate and contextresponsive agendas must be in place to create organizational learning cultures.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen