The Paradoxical Fabric of Hope in Academy-Community Partnerships: Challenging Binary Constructions of Conflict-Cooperation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The global interest in University Community Partnerships (UCP’s) has made the study of these initiatives an important field of research. Studies show that the increased number of UCP’s stems from the fact that both parties see in these shared ventures an opportunity to achieve reciprocal goals. Universities perceive them as a way to show their social commitment to the community, while simultaneously expanding the scope of academic activities and goals. Communities for their part, look at these projects as ways to promote their own social agendas and prioritize critical issues. However, along with these expected mutual gains, studies have also recognized these partnerships as highly complex, often conflictive enterprises, which may generate multiple internal tensions due to competing interests and power disputes. In many cases, the complex nature of these partnerships may severely challenge the chances for their success and sustainability to the extent that studies portray the contested nature of these partnerships as dysfunctional. This chapter challenges this theoretical perspective and offers an alternative theoretical framework to re-examine the binary construction of cooperation-conflict. Using the Organizational Paradox Theory and based on a comprehensive UCP established in the University of Haifa, Israel, this chapter analyses four areas of paradox that illustrate the complexity of UCP. The first part of the chapter will present a review of current research on UCP’s and briefly introduces the Organizational Paradox theoretical framework. The second part describes the methodology of the study. Based on our case study, the third part examines four cases that exemplify paradoxes in UCP. In the discussion section, we elaborate on the contribution of Organizational Paradox Theory to the understanding of academic-community partnerships, culminating with recommendations for both research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuality of Life in Asia
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameQuality of Life in Asia
ISSN (Print)2211-0550
ISSN (Electronic)2211-0569

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.


  • Academy-community partnership
  • Civic engagement
  • Community partnership
  • Organizational Paradox Theory
  • Social responsibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Education
  • Development
  • Public Administration


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