Cross sector partnerships

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  • 1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION CROSS SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS Developed by Origo Social Enterprise Partners • What are cross sector/ multi-stakeholder partnerships?Stakeholder refers to persons and/or groups of people that affect, or are affected by, an 1organization’s decisions, policies, and operations . Consequently, the word stake, in this context,means an interest- or claim on a business enterprise. Those with a stake in the firm’s actionsinclude such diverse groups as customers, employees, stockholders, the media, governments,multilateral organizations, professional and trade associations, social and environmental activists,and non-governmental organizations.Business organizations are embedded in networks involving many stakeholders. Each of thesehas a relationship with the firm, based on ongoing interactions. Each of them shares, to somedegree, in both the risks and rewards of the firms’ activities. And each has some kind of claim onthe firm’s resources and attention, based on law, moral right or both. The number of stakeholdersand the variety of their interests can be diverse, making a company’s decisions very complex.Not surprisingly, business and stakeholder interests often coincide. When their interests aresimilar, stakeholder and companies may form coalitions, that is, alliances to pursue a commoninterest. These strategic alliances or coalitions among companies and their stakeholders areoften referred as partnerships.Some useful working definitions of cross sector / multi-stakeholder partnerships are: • A partnership is an alliance between organizations from two or more sectors that commit themselves to working together to develop and implement a specific project. Such a partnership implies that participants are willing to share risks, costs and benefits, review the relationship regularly and revise the partnership as necessary. • Alliances between parties drawn for example, from businesses, government and civil society, that strategically aggregate the resources and competencies of each to resolve a specific problem/challenge.1 The term stakeholder was introduced in 1963 but was not used in the management literature until thepublication of R. Freeman’s, Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach (Marshfield, MA: Pitman,1984) 1
  • 2. • Partnerships across different sectors of society imply transcending some of the divides between business/NGOs/governments. Interest from many governments and NGOs in working with business is quite high so the partnership model has been replacing the adversarial model. • Partnering across sectors means that different sectors of society are open to communicate and collaborate with each other, fostering and creating more inclusive- participatory models for solving problems. • A management tool to deliver business, social and environmental development outcomes by optimizing the effectiveness of different partners’ resources core competencies.Considering the above definitions, multi-stakeholder partnerships are partnerships that couldengage two or more parties from various sectors of society such as: businesses, governments,multilateral institutions, Non governmental organizations, civil society.It is important to bear in mind that partnerships are about sharing not shifting risks and theyshould aim to find innovative ways to pool resources and talents based on each parties’ corestrengths. They ought to be designed and maintained over time in such a way as to delivermutual benefits for all collaborating parties.Another point to consider is that multi-stakeholder partnerships are not static. Groups that arehighly involved with a company today may be less involved tomorrow. Controversial issues thatthat are highly important at one time may be replaced by others; stakeholders that who are mostdependant on an organization at one time may be less so at another. In addition, interests andpriorities in companies can change over time so the nature and objectives of partnerships changeas well. Some examples of partnerships nowadays are presented in Table 1. 2
  • 3. Table 1 Examples of Partnerships Initiatives PARTNERSHIP AIMS PARTNERSThe Global Compact Promoting nine core principles All UN Agencies, several (e.g. human rights, labor, hundred companies, major environment) business and labor groups, NGOsThe Global Alliance for Increasing children’s access to WHO, UNICEF, vaccineVaccines and Immunization vaccines in poor countries producersBusiness Partners for Focusing on natural Over 130 companies,Development resources, water and agencies and NGOs sanitation, youth developmentInformation and Promoting universal access to UNEP, ITU, leading telecomCommunications information and companiesTechnology Task Force communications technologies for developmentGlobal e-Sustainability Promoting technologies that Nine major IT companies, UNInitiative save energy, reduce waste, agencies bridge the ‘digital divide’Investment Advisory Increasing foreign investment UNCTAD, major multinationalCouncil for Least Developed in least developed countries companiesCountriesPrince of Wales Programs/projects focusing on About 80 major companies,International Business corporate social responsibility government inLeaders Forum developing/transitional economies 3
  • 4. • Actors: Their roles and attributesAs explained above, cross sector/ multi-stakeholder partnerships can involve two or more sectorsof society. Nevertheless for the purposes, of this section let’s consider that society has broadlythree sectors: the public sector, business and civil society. Each has different constituents andsome examples are presented in Table 2. Table 2 The Sectors of Society and their Constituents Sector Examples of Constituents • International multilateral agenciesPublic • National and local government • Public Sector Services • Quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations • Educational/academic institutions * • Multinational companiesBusiness • Business associations • Enterprise development agencies • Social enterprises • Financial institutions • National Companies • Joint stock companies • Campaign groupsCivil Society • Community-based organizations • Donor agencies • Labor organizations • Non-governmental organizations • Private voluntary organizations • Religious institutions* May have a place in all three sectorsIt is always hard to make generalizations on the roles and characteristics of these sectors ofsociety, but it is useful to consider that each of these sectors has a relevant and different role toplay in cross sector partnerships. These roles are not stable and more than anything they involvecomplex and changing relationships. Each actor brings to the table various goals, interests andways of perceiving the world, its problems and feasible solutions.It is also becoming clear that when these sectors ally to form partnerships each of them brings tothe collaboration effort different but complementary skills, experiences and attributes. Table 3indicates some of the key roles and attributes of each of these sectors of society. 4
  • 5. Table 3 Key Roles and Attributes of the three Major Sectors in Society Sector Key Roles Attributes Potential resources to be offered • Promotes economic • Access to development • Rights driven- information • Encourages social provides • Skilled staff with a Public improvements information, public interest • Develop and implement stability and focus programs and strategies legitimacy • Surplus to raise revenues accommodation through taxes and transport • Creates the framework capacity for economic, political • Authority to and social rights mobilize • Provides regulations and resources from standard-setting other public mechanisms, as well as sources adherence to international obligations • Creates goods and • Management and services • Profits driven- technical skills • Creates value by is inventive, • EquipmentBusiness increasing revenues, high capacity • Dissemination and lowering operational to generate distribution costs, and improving human and capacity productivity monetary • Contacts and • Maximizes profits for resources, spheres of investors can operate influence • Provides employment fast and • Human and opportunities, innovation efficiently monetary and economic growth resources • Helps to build and strengthen new markets, tapping into new revenue streams • Creates opportunities for • On the ground individual and • Values driven- know-how community growth is responsive, • Development of • Provides support and inclusive and experience and services for those in imaginative knowledge Civil need or excluded from • People skillsSociety mainstream society • Imaginative, low- • Protects social values cost responses to • Ensures that the local challenges environment is protected • Ensures that the local area is developed • Monitors business actions and policies to ensure that they conform with legal and ethical standards, and that they protect people’s safety • Contributes to the achievement of prosperity for society 5
  • 6. Document based on the following bibliography:Hutchinson, J. (1994) “The Practice of Partnerships in Local Economy Development”, LocalGovernment Studies 20: 335-44.Lawrence A.T., Webber J. and Post J.E. (2004), “Business and Society: Stakeholders, Ethics,Public Policy”, McGraw-Hill Irwin , N.Y.Macintosh, M. (1992) “Partnership: Issues of Policy and Negotiation”, Local Economy 7.3: 210-224Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC)(2003), “Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships Issue Paper”, Global Knowledge Secretariat (GKP),Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Tennyson, R. and Wilde, L. (2000) “The Guiding Hand. Brokering Partnerships for SustainableDevelopment”, The Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum and The United Nations StaffCollege, U.S.A.Stewart, M. and Snape (1996) Keeping out the Momentum: Partnership Working in Bristol andthe West (unpublished study for the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative; Bristol, UK:School of Policy Studies, University of Bristol)Weir A. (2000), “Meeting Social and Environmental Objectives through Partnership. TheExperience of Unilever” in Bendell (ed.), Terms for Endearment. Business, NGOs andSustainable Development, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffied U.K.World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) (2003), Doing Business with thePoor a Field-Guide, WBCSD, Geneva, Switzerland. 6