Enabling boundary spanners in public–private collaboration: The impact of support and role autonomy on reducing role stress

Shreya Anna Satheesh*, Ingmar van Meerkerk, Stefan Verweij, Tim Busscher, Jos Arts

*Corresponding author for this work

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Boundary spanners are pivotal in developing effective public–private collaboration in public infrastructure projects. As boundary spanners have to account for different interests, perspectives, and ways of working in public–private collaborations, engaging in boundary-spanning activities often comes with role stress, which can negatively impact their job performance. However, despite the significant levels of role stress associated with boundary spanning, there is a dearth of empirical studies on the role stress of boundary spanning public managers and how it can be reduced. In this study, we empirically investigate the reciprocal relationship between role stressors and boundary spanning and test if supporting organizational conditions can alleviate role stressors. The findings show that especially role conflict is detrimental for boundary-spanning activities. We further find that top-management support can diminish both role conflict and role ambiguity and that co-worker support can help in reducing the role ambiguity of boundary spanning public managers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Administration
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

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