Partnerships for Development: Four Models of Business Involvement

  • Ananya Mukherjee Reed
  • Darryl ReedEmail author


Over the last two decades there has been a proliferation of partnerships between business and government, multilateral bodies, and/or social actors such as NGOs and local community organizations engaged in promoting development. While proponents hail these partnerships as an important new approach to engaging business, critics argue that they are not only generally ineffective but also serve to legitimate a neo-liberal, global economic order which inhibits development. In order to understand and evaluate the role of such partnerships, it is necessary to appreciate their diversity with respect to not only the activities that they engage in, but also the degree to which they are subject to social control. This paper distinguishes four different types of business partnerships, based upon differing degrees of social control: conventional business; corporate social responsibility; corporate accountability; and social economy. Each type of partnership is described, their basic forms are noted, and the conditions and prospects for them contributing to development are examined. By way of conclusion, an analysis is offered of how the different types of business partnerships relate to different conceptions of development and function as policy paradigms to promote different globalization agendas.


corporate social responsibility corporate accountability social economy development co-operatives global compact partnerships 



corporate accountability partnership


conventional business partnership


corporate social responsibility partnership


Ethical Trading Initiative


Food and Agriculture Organization


Fair Labor Association


Fair Labelling Organization


Forest Stewardship Council


Fair Wear Foundation


International Cooperative Alliance


International Chamber of Commerce


International Financial Institution


International Labour Organization


International Organization for Standardization


Millennium Development Goals


Non-governmental organization


non-state market-driven initiative


Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development


social economy partnership


Self-Employed Women’s Association


transnational corporation


Unión de Comunidades indígenas de la Regiódel Istmo (Union of Indigenous Communities of the Region of the Isthmus)


United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development


United Nations Development Program


United Nations Global Compact


World Business Council for Sustainable Development


World Commission on Environment and Development


Workers Rights Consortium


World Social Forum


World Summit on Sustainable Development


Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production


Social Accountability International


World Trade Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Division of Social ScienceYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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