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Intermediary Capabilities in the Context of Challenging State Dynamics

Abstract

The intertwined nature of social, economic, and environmental problems has led to an increase in cross-sector partnerships to create collaborative value. Intermediary organizations can enable these partnerships, but the context shapes what is needed. There is a need to understand how different contexts shape how intermediaries create value. This study fills this gap by focusing on intermediaries in Johannesburg, South Africa. We find there is significant unrealized collaborative value in the context studied. This is due to the coexistence of a limited state combined with a strong incumbent political party. While the existing scholarship on intermediaries is relevant, two particular capabilities are especially important in such a context. First, intermediaries need to focus on seizing opportunities to generate short-term value in order to build trust among partners. Second, they need to strengthen the capacity of the state through lateral influence. Weak and limited states combined with strong political regimes are common in many nations, especially those in transition. In addition, there are a variety of contemporary global political pressures that emphasize greater state autonomy. These contextual pressures make these findings particularly relevant to partnership scholars and practitioners.

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Correspondence to Anthony Wilson-Prangley.

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Sonday, S.M., Wilson-Prangley, A. Intermediary Capabilities in the Context of Challenging State Dynamics. J Bus Ethics 152, 667–682 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3319-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3319-z

Keywords

  • Intermediary organizations
  • Cross-sector partnership
  • Context
  • Nation states
  • Corporate sustainability