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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|3456||2008||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : European Management Journal, Volume 26, Issue 4, August 2008, Pages 262–273
The potential contribution of companies as partners in furthering development objectives is frequently mentioned, but has received limited research attention. What has also remained unclear is to what extent companies can play such a role via the various individual and collaborative means available to them. Collaborative efforts include not only the more well-known partnerships with nonprofit (non-governmental) organisations (NGOs), but also with governments, and even with both parties. This paper analyses the characteristics of development activities undertaken by companies individually and jointly via public-private, private-nonprofit and tripartite partnerships. Using multinationals originating from the Netherlands as empirical setting, we find that private-nonprofit partnerships are most common, with tripartite and public-private partnerships only emerging, also due to divergent views between business and government. Most partnerships are directly linked to companies’ core activities or focus on the sector or supply chain. A broad, macro development orientation mostly occurs in (tripartite/bilateral) partnerships involving nonprofit organisations. The paper also discusses the implications of the study for partner roles and effectiveness of partnerships, as well as for research and practice.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The examination of the focal companies and their individual and partnership activities for development gives us the opportunity to reflect upon the (potential) effectiveness of partnerships for companies and for societies more broadly, as well as the implications for research and practice. It should be noted that partnerships for development have different dimensions and dynamics than other types of partnerships that have predominated in the management literature so far. Peculiarities that stand out in this regard are that partnerships for development unfold in an uncertain, complex and often distant setting, where good governance is frequently lacking, combined with a larger variety of ‘failures’ than in developed countries, and that they involve various heterogeneous partners, thus requiring an even greater degree of trust or understanding of the specific backgrounds of each partner. Perceptions and expectations concerning the partnership and its outcomes and effects are likely to diverge as well. As a result, traditional analytical frameworks, which presuppose a more ‘normal’ context for contractual arrangements, or a ‘moral’ obligation of actors to engage in activities seem not adequate. It is therefore that this exploratory study has been carried out, in order to shed light on the various aspects that play a role and suggest components that might be included in follow-up research. This study has shown that that each partnership is different, with different partners, locations and objectives. Nevertheless, most partnerships go through largely similar stages, thus allowing for a comparable analysis of the various dimensions of the process. These might be labelled as (a) input; (b) throughput; (c) output; and (d) outcome. In addition, partnerships can be evaluated on (e) efficiency; and (f) effectiveness. Figure 1 gives an overview of these elements, which we will explore somewhat more below, especially raising questions that may be further considered by those interested in the theory and practice of partnerships (cf. Caplan, 2003 and Van Tulder and Kostwinder, 2007). The input of partnerships (indicated above as (a)) consists of the means that are necessary to carry out the process, which can be either of a material (money) or immaterial nature (knowledge). Furthermore, individual partners have specific goals and motives for joining the partnership that are strongly influenced by their societal background (profit or nonprofit, public or private) and by their morality or virtues. As to the latter, an investigation of intent and what has been conceptualised in the literature as ‘virtuousness’ (e.g. Bright, 2006 and Cameron et al., 2004) is worthwhile as well in relation to partnerships. This is all the more interesting when linked to the role played at times of internal organisational developments such as restructuring (Bright et al., 2006). At the more instrumental level, it may be important to understand to what extent the partners are already convinced of specific types of failure before commencing the partnership. In case partners are well aware of these failures, the basis for a partnership becomes broader, the willingness to cooperate larger and the chance of success higher. Questions include: Why do partners perceive the project as necessary and what is their expected return on the project? Did partners have any choice about engaging or not? Where do the ‘roots’ of the partnership come from? Do companies see partnerships as part of corporate social responsibility or do they frame this differently, for example mere business-driven? The actual dynamics, execution and implementation process/procedure of a partnership could be designated as the ‘throughput’ (b). This appears to depend on the (1) number and nature of participants, (2) the roles that can be adopted by the participants, (3) the arrangement and degree of internal dependencies chosen, which in turn is influenced by (4) the position of participants as primary or secondary stakeholder in the project (cf. Fransen and Kolk, 2007). Depending on their goals and motivations, partners can decide upon particular roles to be played in the partnership, which affect whether the partnership in question may, for example, broaden from being project oriented to serving broader and multiple development goals. The activities undertaken by the partners result in project output (c) such as goods and/or services, but possibly also in redefined goals for the partners due to the accumulated experiences in the project. A first output criterion is the extent to which the individual objectives of each participant have been achieved. Did the partnership fulfil the original objectives of the participants or not, or did it perhaps even add to them? Did the project adequately address the sources of ‘failure’ that were at the basis of the partnership? A second output criterion is the extent to which the project objectives have been achieved. Did the partnership result in concrete and tangible results? What are the ‘benefits’ for each of the participants (in terms of, for example, profits, members, legitimacy, exposure, moral capital)? Is there evidence of institutional change due to the partnership, for instance did the partnership result in codes of conduct, trade-marks or other new rules of engagement between the partners that might have an impact beyond the concrete project (and thus fill the ‘institutional void’ from which many countries and markets suffer)? Finally, the sustainability of the project is an important criterion. Did the partnership bring about sufficient goal-alignment to make it sustainable? What are the possibilities to scale-up the project? The sustainability of the project can also be dependent on the ‘exit’ possibility for certain participants. A project might not be sustainable if it remains dependent upon the continued financial support of governments or other partners. So another question might be if the period of engagement of each individual partner been enough to guarantee the sustainability of the project? The changes, benefits and results brought by the partnership on the wider society can be seen as the final and ultimate outcome (d) of the partnership process. Often these goals are formulated as relatively vague ‘inspiration’ for the project, but not so much specified. A serious evaluation, however, needs to make this impact as concrete as possible. For partnerships for development, this can best be assessed by their direct and indirect impact on the Millennium Development Goals. To this end, quantitative measurements, for which approaches have been developed recently (particularly NCDO, 2006), could be combined by (perceived) assessments of external stakeholders and project participants. Partnerships for development need also be evaluated in terms of their efficiency and effectiveness. This is the dimension that is most difficult to measure and therefore most often ignored. With regard to efficiency (e), seen as the internal value added of the partnership, this may be assessed using a cost-benefit analysis. What were the total cost of the partnership, and what specific costs (transaction costs, operating costs) can be attributed to the partnership? For example, more complex negotiations with a large number of stakeholders incur initially more costs upon the participants, but can later on – in case of successfully institutionalised relationships – lead to considerably lower operating costs. Weakly elaborated contracts between the cooperating parties can result in serious additional costs if the partnership becomes problematic. It can also be studied to what extent the overall goal of the partnership has become aligned with the individual goals of the partners for joining the partnership. What critical success factors for managing a partnership do the partners distinguish themselves and how well have they been able to cope with them and learn from it? The effectiveness (f) of partnerships can be seen as the added value and the impact of the partnership compared to individual activities of the different partners. In other words, does the partnership provide additional ways of achieving the MDGs that would not have been possible otherwise? Were other objectives possible through the partnership? Were more resources allocated than otherwise possible? Did the partnership project trigger other activities of the participants that proved relevant for obtaining (some of) the MDGs? Is an alternative partnering (or non-partnering) approach possible that would have brought about comparable results? To what extent is the present experience reproducible? What would have happened in case the partnership project was not implemented? The analytical framework as included above, while preliminary, offers a range of elements that can induce further research and also reflections for managers and policymakers involved in partnerships for development. Given that this exploratory paper only took a small sample, future studies might want to focus on a broader set of companies and partnerships, preferably covering a longer time period, and also move beyond the Dutch context on which we focused here. To shed more light on the actual effectiveness of partnerships, a detailed investigation over time in which assessments are made both at the beginning and in the course (or the end) of the partnership seems appropriate. Finally, it would also be interesting to further explore what determines companies’ interest in engaging in various types of partnerships, and also individual activities, for development. More insight into these drivers and motivations could provide further assistance for governments that seek to involve companies in development policy in order to increase the effectiveness of official aid.