Managing Competing Aims: Coping with the Inclusiveness Efficiency Paradox in Cross-sector Partnerships

Leona Henry, Andreas Rasche, Guido Möllering

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


This paper discusses how cross-sector partnerships (CSPs) for sustainability manage the paradoxical tension between stakeholder inclusiveness and administrative efficiency. Drawing on evidence from a case study of a CSP focused on urban sustainability, we show how the inclusiveness-efficiency paradox unfolded throughout the studied collaboration. We discuss how the paradox re-emerged in a different guise within each phase of the partnership and how three practices of paradox management helped actors to cope with the tension: “customized inviting” (during the formation phase); “sequential including” (during the preparation phase); and “tailored instructing” (during the implementation phase). On the basis of these findings we argue that: (1) the paradox reoccurred throughout the phases of the CSP because the three paradox management practices accentuated boundaries, thereby helping to resolve the paradox temporarily while at the same time creating grounds for the paradox to resurface; and (2) that the three paradox management practices can be theorized as a special type of boundary work that “plays up” relevant differences between actor groups and thereby ensures collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages47
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event36th EGOS Colloquium 2020: Organizing for a Sustainable Future: Responsibility, Renewal & Resistance - Virtual Conference, Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 2 Jul 20204 Jul 2020
Conference number: 36


Conference36th EGOS Colloquium 2020
LocationVirtual Conference
Internet address

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