Strategic partnerships for transformational change towards a sustainable society

Today, global socio-ecological problems are too complex and urgent for isolated actions, and cross-sector collaboration is increasingly required to generate transformational change towards a sustainable future. Partnerships between businesses and civil society organisations (CSOs) in particular have the potential to achieve the required change for sustainability. However, the ‘backcasting’ approach used in this study highlights a gap between current approaches and what partnerships might look like in a sustainable future. Research draws on literature, eighteen interviews and an action research project with Interface Europe…


1 Introduction
1.1 Context
1.2 Strategic Sustainable Development
1.3 Partnerships for Sustainable Development
1.4 Scope and Limitations
1.5 Research Questions
1.6 Action Research Project
1.7 About This Thesis
2 Methodology
2.1 Research Design
2.2 Literature search
2.3 Interviews
2.4 ReEntry Action Research Project
2.5 Case studies
2.6 Dialogue and Reflection
2.7 Validity
3 Results
3.1 Understanding Changes in Society
3.1.1 The Paradigm Shift
3.1.2 Sectoral Functions
3.1.3 Changing Roles of Sectors in Society
3.1.4 Mutual Benefit
3.1.5 Individual Values
3.1.6 Transformational Change
3.1.7 Summary of Factors Affecting Partnerships
3.2 Current Practices in Partnering
3.2.1 The Rise of Partnerships
3.2.2 Issues addressed and Partnerships Types
3.2.3 Organisational Development
3.2.4 CSO Perspective on Partnerships
3.2.5 Corporate Perspective on Partnerships
3.2.6 SME Perspective on Partnerships
3.3 Barriers and Opportunities in Creating Partnerships
3.4 Considerations for Partnering
3.4.1 Characteristics of Successful Partnerships
3.4.2 Partnering Process
3.5 The Future of Partnerships
4 Discussion
4.1 Overview
4.1.1 Revealing the Gap
4.1.2 Being Strategic about Societal Transformation and Partnering
4.1.3 Answering the Research Question in Two Parts
4.2 Part I: The Art and Science of Partnering
4.2.1 Overcoming the Challenges of Partnering
4.2.2 Guide to Partnering Effectively for Sustainability
4.3 Part II: How Partnerships can contribute to Societal Transformation
4.3.1 Transformational change in organisations
4.3.2 Individual Transformation
4.3.3 Collaboration for Innovation and Competitive Advantage
4.3.4 Synergistic Actions
4.3.5 Complementary Functions and Values
4.3.6 Creating New Rules and Governance
4.3.7 Co-Creating the Future
5 Conclusions

Author: Richard Blume, Miriam Karell, Andrew Outhwaite

Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology

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