Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 94, Supplement 1, pp 123–137 | Cite as

Trickle Effects of Cross-Sector Social Partnerships

  • Ans KolkEmail author
  • Willemijn van Dolen
  • Marlene Vock


Cross-sector social partnerships are often studied from a macro and meso perspective, also in an attempt to assess effectiveness and societal impact. This article pays specific attention to the micro perspective, i.e. individual interactions between and within organizations related to partnerships that address the ‘social good’. By focusing on the potential effects and mechanisms at the level of individuals and the organization(s) with which they interact, it aims to help fill a gap in research on partnerships, including more insight into the process of interaction. We conceptually explore micro level interactions, and how partnership effects may ‘trickle down’ (e.g. from management to employees), or ‘trickle up’ (from employees to management) or ‘trickle round’ (e.g. between employees). Based on the literature from various disciplines, we discuss how more generic theories on social exchange and contagion, social learning and attraction-selection-attrition can help shed light on micro level interactions in a partnership, considering in particular transmission mechanisms via employees, top and middle management, and customers. In this way, partnerships can have wider benefits, as individuals have multiple roles and effects at the micro level can spread to the meso and macro levels as well. Implications for research and practice are outlined.


cross-sector partnerships micro level interactions trickle effects trickle down trickle up trickle round social exchange theory social contagion social learning theory attraction-selection-attrition theory 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ählström, J. and E. Sjöström,: 2005, ‘CSOs and Business Partnerships: Strategies for Interaction’, Business Strategy and the Environment 14, 230-240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Appels, C., L. van Duin and R. Hamann: 2006, ‘Institutionalising corporate citizenship: the case of Barloworld and its ‘Employee Value Creation’ process’, Development Southern Africa 23(2), 241-250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ashman, D: 2001, ‘Civil Society Collaboration with Business: Bringing Empowerment Back in’, World Development 29(7), 1097-1113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Austin J.E. (2000) ‘Strategic Collaboration Between Nonprofits and Business’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 29(1) Supplement :69-97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Austin, J. E., R. Gutierrez, E. Ogliastri and E. Reficco: 2007, ‘Capitalizing on convergence’, Stanford Social Innovation Review, 24–31.Google Scholar
  6. Avolio, B.J. and B.M. Bass: 1995, ‘Individual Consideration viewed at Multiple Levels of Analysis: A Multi-Level Framework for examining the Diffusion of Transformational Leadership’, Leadership Quarterly 6(2), 199-218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bandura, A.: 1986, Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory (Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ).Google Scholar
  8. Barsade, S.G.: 2002, ‘The ripple effect: Emotional contagion and its influence on group behavior’, Administrative Science Quarterly 47, 644-675.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bartels, J., A. Pruyn, M. de Jong and I. Joustra: 2007, ‘Multiple organizational identification levels and the impact of perceived external prestige and communication climate’, Journal of Organizational Behaviour 28, 173-190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bass, B.M.: 1999, ‘Two Decades of Research and Development in Transformational Leadership’, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 8(1), 9-32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Berger, I.E.; P.H. Cunningham and M.E. Drumwright: 2004, ‘Social Alliances: Company/Nonprofit Collaboration’, California Management Review 47(1), 58-90.Google Scholar
  12. Berger, I.E.; P.H. Cunningham and M.E. Drumwright: 2006, ‘Identity, Identification and Relationship Through Social Alliances’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 34, 128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Berger, I.E.; P.H. Cunningham and M.E. Drumwright: 2007, ‘Mainstreaming Corporate Social Responsibility: Developing Markets for Virtue’, California Management Review 49(4), 132-157.Google Scholar
  14. Bhattacharya, C.B., D. Korschun and S. Sen: 2009, ‘Strengthening Stakeholder-Company Relationships Through Mutually Beneficial Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives’, Journal of Business Ethics 85, 257–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bhattacharya, C.B., N.C. Smith and D. Vogel, D.: 2004, ‘Integrating Social Responsibility and Marketing Strategy: An Introduction’, California Management Review 47(1), 6-8.Google Scholar
  16. Bouwen, R. and T. Taillieu: 2004, ‘Multi-party Collaboration as social Learning for Interdependence: Developing Relational Knowing for Sustainable Natural Resource Management’, Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology 14, 137-153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brammer S., A. Millington and B. Rayton: 2007, ‘The contribution of corporate social responsibility to organizational commitment’, International Journal of Human Resource Management 18(10), 1701-1719.Google Scholar
  18. Branzei, O., T.J. Ursacki-Bryant, I. Vertinsky and W. Zhang: 2004, ‘The formation of green strategies in Chinese firms: matching corporate environmental responses and individual principles’, Strategic Management Journal 25, 1075-1095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Brett, J.M., and L.K. Stroh: 2003, ‘Working 61 plus hours a week: Why do managers do it?’, Journal of Applied Psychology 88, 67-78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Brown, S.P. and S.K. Lam: 2008, ‘A Meta-Analysis of Relationships Linking Employee Satisfaction to Customer Responses’, Journal of Retailing 84(3), 243-255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Collier, J. and R. Esteban, R.: 2007, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Commitment’, Business Ethics: A European Review 16(1), 19-33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dabholkhar, P.A., W.M. van Dolen and J.C. de Ruyter: 2009, ‘A Dual-Sequence Framework for B2C Relationships Formation: Moderating Effects of Employee Communication Style in Online Group Chat’, Psychology & Marketing 26(2), 145–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Drumwright, M.E.: 1996, ‘Company Advertising With a Social Dimension: The Role of noneconomic Criteria’, Journal of Marketing 60, 71-87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dutton, J.E., J.M. Dukerich and C.V. Harquail: 1994, ‘Organizational Images and Member Identification’, Admninistrative Science Quarterly 39, 239-263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Elkington, J. and S. Fennell: 1998, ‘Partners for Sustainability’, Greener Management International 24, 48-60.Google Scholar
  26. Evans, M.: 1989, ‘Consumer Behaviour towards Fashion’, European Journal of Marketing 23(7), 7-16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Festinger, L.: 1954, ‘A theory of social comparison processes’, Human Relations 7, 117-140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gond, J.-P., A. El Akremi, J. R. Igalens and V. Swaen: 2007, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Influence on Employees’ Behaviours, Attitudes and Performance: An Integrative Model’, Presented at Academy of Management Annual Meeting.Google Scholar
  29. Gouldner, A.: 1960, ‘The norm of reciprocity’, American Sociological Review 25, 161-178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hemingway, C.A. and P.W. Maclagan: 2004, ‘Managers’ Personal Values as Drivers of Corporate Social Responsibility’, Journal of Business Ethics 50, 33-44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jacobs, R.S., K.R. Evans, R.E. Kleine III and T.D. Landry: 2001, ‘Disclosure and its reciprocity as predictors of key outcomes of an initial sales encounter’, Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management 21, 51-60.Google Scholar
  32. Jung, D.I. and J.J. Sosik: 2002, ‘Transformational Leadership in Work Groups: The Role of Empowerment, Cohesiveness, and Collective-Efficacy on Perceived Group Performance’, Small Group Research, 33, 313-336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Koh, H.C. and E.H.Y. Boo: 2001, ‘The Link Between Organizational Ethics and Job Satisfaction: A Study of Managers in Singapore’, Journal of Business Ethics 29, 309-324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kolk, A., R. van Tulder and E. Kostwinder: 2008, ‘Business and Partnerships for development’, European Management Journal, 26(4), 262-273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Maclagan, P.: 1999, ‘Corporate social responsibility as a participative process’, Business Ethics: A European Review 8(1), 43-49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Maignan, I., O.C. Ferrell and G.T.M. Hult: 1999, ‘Corporate Citizenship: Cultural Antecedents and Business Benefits’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 27(4), 455-469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Maon, F., A. Lindgreen and V. Swaen: 2008, ‘Thinking of the Organization as a System: The role of Managerial Perceptions in Developing a Corporate Social Responsibility Strategic Agenda’, Systems Research and Behavioural Science 25, 413-426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Masterson, S.S.: 2001, ‘A Trickle-Down Model of Organizational Justice: Relating Employees’ and Customers’ Perceptions of and Reactions to Fairness’, Journal of Applied Psychology 86(4), 594-604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Maxham III, J.G. and R.G. Netemeyer: 2003, ‘Firms Reap What They Sow: The Effects of Shared Values and Perceived Organizational Justice on Customers’ Evaluations of Complaint Handling’, Journal of Marketing 67, 46-62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mayer, D.M., M. Kuenzi, R. Greenbaum, M. Bardes and R.(B.) Salvador: 2009, ‘How low does ethical leadership flow? Test of a trickle-down model’, Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes 108(1), 1-13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Muthusamy, S.K. and M.A. White: 2005, ‘Learning and Knowledge Transfer in Strategic Alliances: A Social Exchange View’, Organization Studies 26(3), 415-441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pedersen, E.R.: 2005, ‘Guiding the Invisible Hand - The Role of Development Agencies in Driving Corporate Citizenship’, Journal of Corporate Citizenship 20,77-91.Google Scholar
  43. Peterson, D.K.: 2004, ‘The Relationship between Perceptions of Corporate Citizenship and organizational Commitment’, Business and Society 43, 296-319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ployhart, R.E., J.A. Weekley and K. Baughman: 2006, ‘The Structure and Function of Human Capital Emergence: A Multilevel Examination of the Attraction-Selection-Attrition Model’, Academy of Management Journal 49(4), 661-677.Google Scholar
  45. Pugh, S.D.: 2001, ‘Service with a smile: Emotional contagion in the service encounter’, Academy of Management Journal 44, 1018-1027.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Reed, II A., K. Aquino and E. Levy: 2007, ‘Moral Identity and Judgments of Charitable Behaviours’, Journal of Marketing 71, 178-193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schul, P.L., W.M. Pride and T.L. Little: 1983, ‘The Impact of Channel Leadership Behaviour on Intrachannel Conflict’, Journal of Marketing 47(3), 21-34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schusler, T.M, D.J. Decker and M.J. Pfeffer: 2003, ‘Social Learning for Collaborative natural Resource management’, Society & Natural Resources 16(4), 309-326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Seitanidi, M.M.: 2008, ‘Adaptive Responsibilities: Non-Linear Interactions Across Social Sectors. Cases from Cross Sector Partnerships’, Emergence: Complexity and Organization E:CO 10(3), 51-64.Google Scholar
  50. Seitanidi, M.M. and A. Crane: 2008, ‘Implementing CSR through partnerships: Understanding the selection, design and institutionalisation of nonprofit-business partnerships’, Journal of Business Ethics 85, 413-429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Seitanidi, M.M. and A. Ryan: 2007, ‘A critical review of forms of corporate community involvement: from philanthropy to partnerships’, International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing 12, 247–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Selsky, J.W. and B. Parker: 2005, ‘Cross-Sector Partnerships to Address Social issues: Challenges to Theory and Practice’, Journal of Management 31(6), 849-873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sheth, J.N. and A. Parvatiyar: 2001, ‘The antecedents and consequences of integrated global Marketing’, International Marketing Review 18(1), 16-19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Simons, T., R. Friedman, L.A. Liu and J. McLean Parks: 2007, ‘Racial Differences in Sensitivity to Behavioural Integrity: Attitudinal Consequences, In-Group Effects, and “Trickle Down” Among Black and Non-Black Employees’, Journal of Applied Psychology 92(3), 650-665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Smidts, A., A.Th.H. Pruyn and C.B.M. van Riel: 2001, ‘The Impact of employee communication and perceived external prestige on organizational identification’, Academy of Management Journal 49(5), 1051-1062.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Somech, A.: 2003, ‘Relationships of Participative Leadership with Relational Demography Variables: A Multi-Level Perspective’, Journal of Organizational Behaviour 24(8), 1003-1018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Spreitzer, G.: 2007, ‘Giving peace a chance: Organizational leadership, empowerment, and peace’, Journal of Organizational Behaviour 28, 1077-1095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stock, R.M. and W.D. Hoyer: 2005, ‘An attitude-behavior model of salespeople’s customer orientation’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 33, 536-552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Trigg, A.B.: 2001, ‘Veblen, Bourdieu, and Conspicuous Consumption’, Journal of Economic Issues 35(1), 99-115.Google Scholar
  60. Turban, D.B. and D.W. Greening: 1997, ‘Corporate Social performance and Organizational Attractiveness to Prospective Employees’, Academy of Management Journal 40(3), 658-672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Waldman, D.A., D.S. Siegel and M. Javidan: 2006, ‘Components of CEO Transformational Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility’, Journal of Management Studies 43(8), 1703-1725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wangenheim, F.V., H. Evanschitzky and M. Wunderlich: 2007, ‘Does the employee-customer satisfaction link hold for all employee groups’, Journal of Business Research 60, 690-697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Weaver G.R., L.K. Trevino and B. Agle: 2005, ‘“Somebody I Look Up To:” Ethical Role Models in Organizations’, Organizational Dynamics 34(4), 313-330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wolfe, R.A. and D.S. Putler: 2002, ‘How tight are the ties that bind stakeholder groups?’, Organization Science 13(1), 64-80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Amsterdam Business SchoolAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations