Al-Tabbaa, Omar and Leach, Des (2016) On meaningfulness beyond the corporate form: An exploration of cross-sector collaboration from a non-profit perspective. The Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings. ISSN 0065-0668

While interest in collaboration between business and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has grown rapidly in the past decades, literature has underexposed the peculiarities of the NGO partner, compared to the ample attention for the perspective of the firm and the implications for society. In the context of growing uncertainty of government funding and budgetary constraints, NGOs have taken a more proactive approach of embracing partnerships with business to foster their organizational viability and strategic economic interests, in addition to their traditional focus on social value and meaningfulness. Using two complementary studies, one qualitative, the other more quantitative, we explore activities adopted by NGOs to generate resources and further their objectives in collaborating with firms, considering their strategy context, content and process, and how these reflected in their external communication and presentation, especially via organizational websites. Findings show the most prominent dimensions of NGOs’ strategy for partnerships, including the deployment of intrinsic and extrinsic attributes, the provision of specific options for collaboration, and evidence of past achievement to increase trustworthiness. Our findings also shed light on the factors relevant for firms seeking to partner with an NGO as a means to further their meaningfulness.

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