The Politics of Partnerships
In the late 1990s the idea of cross-sector collaborations was relatively new in Europe. The term 'partnership' was employed primarily to refer to partnerships between government and businesses, usually termed PPP (Public Private Partnerships). On the other hand 'strategic alliances' was the term employed for business-to-business partnerships. Until then 'sponsorship' was the most practised associational form between nonprofit organisations (NPOs) and businesses (BUSs), which was included within the broad area of corporate community involvement. The relations between NPOs and BUSs witnessed a gradual intensification over the last 200 years (Gray 1989; Young 1999; Austin 2000; Googins and Rochlin 2000) resulting in increased interactions within both the philanthropic and trans- tional types of relationships (Seitanidi and Ryan 2007). However, the more recent gradual prominence of the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) within all sectors of society elicited an intensification of the debate with regard to the responsibilities of each sector in addressing environmental and social issues. In effect, CSR contributed to the increase of the interactions across the sectors and propelled NPO-BUS Partnerships (a type of social partnership) as a key mechanism for corporations to delve into a process of engaging with NPOs in order to improve their business practices by contributing their resources to address social issues (Heap 1998; Mohiddin 1998; Fowler 2000; Googins and Rochlin 2000; Mancuso Brehm 2001; Drew 2003; Hemphill and Vonortas 2003).
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