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Public Policy and Administration


Morris Bidjerano


The initial 72 hours after a large-scale crisis are critical in terms of preserving life and property, and the private sector and its critical infrastructure are often called upon to assist government organizations in such events. However, little research explores the unique circumstances surrounding the relationship between public-private partnerships and community resilience in strategic communities including military installations and ports. Using Bryson, Crosby, and Stone's conceptualization of cross-sector collaboration, the purpose of this grounded theory study was to develop a theory of private sector engagement and collaboration with military base and port community leaders in response to large scale crises. Data were collected through interviews with 43 public, private, and military sector leaders in six strategic communities of the East, Gulf, and West coasts. Data from ReadyCommunities Partnership symposia summaries were also considered. Data were coded and analyzed using Eisenhardt's grounded theory procedures. Findings resulted in the identification of emergent themes from which the mutual mission theory emerged. This theory acknowledges the key elements of tension between private sector incentives to collaborate and the undercurrent of sector-silo bias. Further, the findings of this study support collaboration through policy with incentives to institutionalize extraordinary community-based mutual missions while overcoming sector-silo bias. Positive social change may be achieved through utilization of the applied mutual mission theory by military base and port community leaders in order to better leverage private sector engagement in response to national crises.