Tightrope Walking: Navigating Competition in Multi-Company Cross-Sector Social Partnerships
- 198 Downloads
Many challenges to economic and social well-being require close collaboration between business, government, and civil-society actors. In this context, the involvement of multiple companies (i.e., business partners) rather than a single company may enhance such cross-sector social partnerships’ (CSSPs) outcomes. However, extant literature cautions about the tensions arising from companies’ competitive interests and the detrimental effects on the CSSP’s social outcome. Similarly, studies analyzing simultaneous collaboration and competition (i.e., coopetition) suggest shielding off competitive elements from the collaboration. Based on insights into two multi-company CSSPs, we conversely find that government and NGO partnership managers deliberately leveraged competition through the CSSP design. They used similar segmentation mechanisms to enhance CSSP contributions, but differed in the way they integrated collaborative and competitive elements, leading to sustained corporate commitment in one CSSP and unmet promises in the other. These insights expose the paradoxical nature of coopetition at the interface of social and economic goals, and advance current research by indicating competition’s positive effects and the respective partnership design implications. On this basis, our study helps reveal and better understand sustainability-related tensions and opportunities at the inter-organizational level.
KeywordsCoopetition Competitive dynamics Corporate sustainability Cross-sector (social) partnerships Paradox Sustainability tensions
- Brandenburger, A., & Nalebuff, B. (1996). Co-Opetition. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
- Bull, B., & McNeill, D. (2007). Development issues in global governance: Public–private partnerships and market multilateralism. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Castaldo, S., Möllering, G., Grosso, M., & Zerbini, F. (2010). Exploring how third-party organisations facilitate coopetition management in buyer-seller relationships. In S. Yami, S. Castaldo, B. Dagnino, & F. Le Roy (Eds.), Coopetition: Winning strategies for the 21st century (pp. 141–165). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
- Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14, 532–550.Google Scholar
- Fernandez, A.-S., & Le Roy, F. (2015).The controversy roles of the third-party in coopetition: Stimulating collaboration or competition? In Paper presented at the XXIVème Conférence Internationale de Management Stratégique, AIMS 2015, Paris.Google Scholar
- Gray, B. (1989). Collaborating: Finding common ground for multiparty problems. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
- Gray, B., & Stites, J. (2013). Sustainability through partnerships: Capitalizing on collaboration. Network for business sustainability. http://nbs.net/wp-content/uploads/NBS-Systematic-Review-Partnerships.pdf.
- Grayson, D., & Nelson, J. (2013). Corporate responsibility coalitions. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing.Google Scholar
- Lado, A. A., Boyd, N. G., & Hanlon, S. C. (1997). Competition, cooperation, and the search for economic rents: A syncretic model. Academy of Management Review, 22(1), 110–141.Google Scholar
- Lewis, M. W. (2000). Exploring paradox: Toward a more comprehensive guide. Academy of Management Review, 25(4), 760–776.Google Scholar
- Martens, J. (2007). Multistakeholder partnerships—future models of multilateralism? Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Dialogue on Globalization. Retrieved from http://www.fes-globalization.org/publications/FESOCP29_Martens_Multistakeholder_Partnerships_ONLINEversion.pdf.
- Merton, R. K. (1968). Social theory and social structure. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Pearce, J. A., & Doh, J. P. (2005). The high impact of collaborative social initiatives. Sloan Management Review, 46(3), 30–39.Google Scholar
- Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2011). Creating shared value. Harvard Business Review, 89(1/2), 62–77.Google Scholar
- Ritala, P. (2012). Coopetition strategy—when is it successful? Empirical evidence on innovation and market performance. British Journal of Management, 23(3), 307–324.Google Scholar
- Roberts, D., & Khattri, N. (2012). Designing a results framework for achieving results: A how-to guide. Washington: Independent Evaluation Group/World Bank. http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTEVACAPDEV/Resources/designing_results_framework.pdf.
- Smith, W. K., & Lewis, M. W. (2011). Toward a theory of paradox: A dynamic equilibrium model of organizing. Academy of Management Review, 36, 381–403.Google Scholar
- Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research; techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Thomas, A., & Fritz, L. (2006). Disaster relief, Inc. Harvard Business Review, 84(11), 114–122.Google Scholar
- World Economic Forum (2005). Building on the monterrey consensus: The Growing role of public-private partnerships in mobilizing resources for development. http://www.weforum.org/pdf/Initiatives/monterrey2006_summary.pdf.
- Yin, R. K. (2008). Case study research: Design and methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Inc.Google Scholar