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«No. 86 – January 2016 How to assess CSO-business partnerships for development Bruce Byiers, Francesca Guadagno1, Karim Karaki2 Key messages The ...»

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That being said, while varying widely, partnerships are very complex and demanding to initiate and manage. These characteristics often pose challenges to partnerships to reach their objectives and developmental impacts, and to policy-makers wishing to promote and support them. More insights on the process underlying partnerships and in-depth analysis about the drivers and challenges of such partnerships, and about the process driving them should help addressing this. Ultimately, the aim is to highlight key aspects to take into account for partnerships to be effective.

As this paper summarises, four key dimensions emerge from the literature as being key to understanding

CSO-business partnerships. These are:

the nature of the partnership with regards to business strategy;

• the degree of partner engagement;

• the activities of the partnership and • the governance structures.

• The governance structures have received least attention. Further, the role of the institutional context on partnerships is rarely studied, although it has been observed that CSO-business partnerships tend to be rare in context marked by low governance, such as least developed countries - especially in cases of fragile or conflict affected states.

By connecting the above dimensions with a broad political economy framework, this paper sets out an approach to analysing partnerships that is hoped to go beyond discussions of success or failure to understanding the interests, incentives and underlying factors that ultimately define the likely success of the development community in moving from rhetoric to practice.

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Byiers, B., Guadagno, F., Karaki, K. 2015. From looking good to doing good: Mapping CSO-business partnerships. ECDPM Discussion Paper 182. Maastricht: ECDPM.

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Gartner, W.B. & Birley, S. 2002. Introduction to the Special Issue on Qualitative Methods in Entrepreneurship Research. Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 17 (5), pp. 387-395.

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Jamali, D., and Keshishian, T. 2008. Uneasy alliances: lessons learned from partnerships between business and NGOs in the context of CSR, Journal of Business Ethics, 84: 277-295.

Kindornay, S., Higgins, K., and Olender, M. 2013. Models for Trade-related Private Sector Partnerships for Development, The North-South Institute.

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Lowder, B. T. 2009. Choosing a Methodology for Entrepreneurial Research: A Case for Qualitative Research in the Study of Entrepreneurial Success Factors (May 29, 2009). Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1411914.

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Assessing Cross-Sector Alliances and Collaborations, The Academy of Management Executive, 17(1): 61Tennyson, R., Gray, T., and Lobo, I. 2008. Emerging Opportunities for NGO-business partnerships, Feedback from the Cross Sector Partnership project.

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Van Tulder, R., and Pfisterer, S. 2013. Creating Partnership Space: Exploring the Right Fit for Sustainable Development Partnerships, in Seitanidi, M. M., and Crane, A. (eds), Social Partnerships and Responsible Business. A Research Handbook. London: Routledge.

www.ecdpm.org/bn86 How to assess CSO-business partnerships for development ECDPM Briefing Notes ECDPM Briefing Notes present policy findings and advice, prepared and disseminated by Centre staff in response to specific requests by its partners. The aim is to stimulate broader reflection and debate on key policy questions relating to EU external action, with a focus on relations with countries in the South.

In addition to structural support by ECDPM’s institutional partners: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland, this publication also benefits from funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom.

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