Fields of paradox: University-community partnerships

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


University-community partnerships (UCP's) are exciting areas of academic and social interest. This interest seems to be a response to the multiple challenges academic institutions and communities face in the context of the social, economic and institutional changes that affect both universities and communities worldwide. Along with the acknowledged benefits of such initiatives, studies have also noticed that UCP's tend to engender internal tensions and conflicts which harm the spirit of collaboration between partners. This article challenges the conception of UCP's as inherently conflictive and suggests a more complex vision. It argues that UCP's can be better understood through organizational paradox theory. This theory offers a way to grapple with the complexity of UCP's and overcome the binary conception of conflict or collaboration. The article illustrates the interrelatedness of conflict and collaboration by presenting seven areas that characterize the paradoxical nature of UCP's.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-165
Number of pages11
JournalHigher Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Engaged scholarship
  • Higher education
  • Paradox theory
  • University-community partnership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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