Addressing Tensions in Coopetition for Sustainable Innovation: Insights from the Automotive Industry

Pauline Munten, Joëlle Vanhamme, François Maon, Valérie Swaen, Adam Lindgreen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Developing solutions to sustainability challenges requires cooperation among various firms and actors in different industries and sectors (e.g., regulatory authorities, nonprofit organizations). Prior studies investigate sustainability-related coopetition tensions in bilateral relationships; this article instead considers tensions at a broader, value net level and highlights the dark side of business relationships for firms engaged in coopetition. Qualitative analyses, based on interviews with 31 experts from the automotive industry, highlight how innovative efforts to achieve environmental sustainability can generate detrimental environmental and societal impacts. Specifically, the authors identify four sustainable innovation tensions, at the firm level and the value net level. They outline the aggregate economic, social, and ecological sustainability impacts, as well as the critical need for an exhaustive definition of the value net and which factors influence coopetition in sustainability efforts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Research
Pages (from-to)10-20
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Case study
  • Coopetition
  • Networks
  • Sustainable innovation
  • Value net

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