Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 154, Issue 3, pp 869–891 | Cite as

Leveraging Partnerships for Environmental Change: The Interplay Between the Partnership Mechanism and the Targeted Stakeholder Group

  • Lea StadtlerEmail author
  • Haiying Lin
Original Paper


Partnerships can play an important role in addressing environmental concerns and fostering environmental improvement. In this context, we argue that a more elaborate understanding is needed of how partners intend to reach beyond the partnership boundaries and target stakeholders at the firm, industry, supply-chain, or societal levels. As environmental improvement is intertwined with the process of change, we build on the theory of planned change to explain how the focus on selected partnership mechanisms may help partners anticipate and overcome barriers when targeting environmental improvement at these different levels. We test our framework, using a sample of 566 environmental partnerships formed in the USA, and provide rich insights into how partners intend to reach beyond the partnership boundaries. From a practical perspective, these insights may inform corporate managers’ decision to configure environmental partnerships in terms of the target group and suitable partnership mechanism. From a theory perspective, the study helps develop a more systematic understanding of what partners intend to do and when (i.e. on the basis of which mechanism) partnerships may provide benefits in addressing level-specific change barriers. These insights provide a first step in positioning partnerships in the broader context of environmental change and encourage future research to move from the intentions to the actual outcomes.


Environmental change Environmental partnerships Change barriers Partnership configurations Change management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grenoble Ecole de ManagementGrenobleFrance
  2. 2.School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED)Faculty of EnvironmentWaterlooCanada

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