Monica Miller


Innovative and enduring solutions to the myriad of complex social and environmental challenges facing the world today require the shared resources and combined talents of government, nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Interactions between these sectors are called cross sector partnerships (CSPs). An example of CSPs, nonprofit patient advocacy organizations (PAOs) are increasingly entering relationships and collaborations with for-profit pharmaceutical companies (FPPCs). Using a phenomenological approach, this study sought to contribute to the body of knowledge on PAO/FFPC partnerships, as well as broader CSP phenomenon, by exploring how leaders in the field of PAO/FFPC alliances experience collaborations with one another. Three research questions were used as the basis of semi-structured interviews with 11 patient advocacy leaders. Five of the participants were nonprofit leaders (NPLs) and six were for-profit leaders (FPLs). Results from this study include several important new contributions that add to the body of knowledge related to PAO/FFPC cross sector alliances. First, the data describe disparities in decision-making authority between the NPLs and FPLs and the data illustrate the complex, variable and challenging decision-making context that exists in the PAO/FFPC partnerships. Second, these results confirm that strategic analysis skills, marketing skills and facilitation skills are important leadership competencies that impact productive PAO/FFPC partnerships. Finally, this research describes similarities and differences in leadership competencies that are important to NPLs and FPLs. This study is significant because an increased understanding of collaborations between patient advocacy organizations and drug development companies may allow for more positive and beneficial future collaborations. In addition, this research provides insight into the general phenomena of cross sector alliances, which may prove beneficial to a wide range of social challenges.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Public-private sector cooperation -- Case studies; Patient advocacy -- Case studies; Nonprofit organizations; Pharmaceutical industry

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Hamilton, Eric R.;