Lee Teitel, in a forthcoming (2009) chapter on Developing Partnerships with Purpose, notes five kinds of interdependencies organizations have:

Relationship type 1- Serial/ supply or value chain

In this relationship you rely on others to provide some service or add some value to something (or some people) that you then work with. You and your organization in turn, supply others up the value chain (e.g. middle schools rely on elementary schools to teach certain skills and knowledge; colleges and universities rely on P-12 school systems to prepare their incoming students; schools and districts turn to teacher preparation institutions to provide their teachers and administrators ADD OTHER NON EDUCATION EXAMPLES THROUGHOUT THESE FIVE).

Relationship type 2 - Parallel/Peer

This refers to individuals or organizations or sub-units that are comparable to you: other schools in a district, other teacher or school leader preparation programs in other universities; other teams on a grade, other non profit organizations with similar goals to yours in the region or state. Although you are in different organizations or units, you share goals, technology, processes. You may see yourselves as collaborators or potential competitors.

Relationship type 3 - Silos

Units or people with the same stated broader purpose, but differentiated tasks. This might include sub-units within an organization that are often seen as competing (marketing, production, sales); within a school district -- teaching and learning, supervising deputies, human resources and professional development. You might see parents in this category, or other youth-serving organizations in your community.

Relationship type
4 - Nested hierarchies
These relationships have the same stated goals, but significant differences in power and authority (e.g. schools in relationship to districts, non profit organizations in relationship to regulatory agencies; school districts working with state agencies,).

Relationship type 5 - Combinations of above, or unconnected, unaligned, unaffiliated

Some relationships may fit into more than one category (e.g. relationships between schools and parents could be considered serial (parents hand over children to schools), or siloed (working simultaneously to support students). Others are “out of the box” – potential partnerships with people and organizations that don’t know each other, or even think of themselves in same universe (e.g. a teen health program at a hospital, a youth leadership program at a community center, a school work together to create an HIV peer leadership program.)

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