Stronger Together? A Critical View of How Partnerships Between Corporations and NGOs are Reshaping CSR-Driven Innovations Within the Food Industry on National and International Competitive Landscapes

Alberto Cortese

Student thesis: Master thesis


Partnerships between non-governmental organizations and corporations have undergone an exponential growth during the last decades. This phenomenon has raised the interest of many academics and researchers, considering the formerly hostile and antagonistic interactions between these two entities in the business world. The diffusion of this type of alliance has several implications on the vast number of stakeholders involved in these interactions, consumers included.
The scope of this thesis is to explore the direction and magnitude of this phenomenon within the food industry, a sector which has recently been shaped by several disrupting dynamics, such as the formation of global complex value chains and the increasing demand of environmentally sustainable products. The thesis will provide direct insights about the phenomenon by analysing three cases who had early pioneered the establishment and implementation of strategic partnerships and managed these collaborations for a long time, setting the industry standards, despite the several challenges they have experienced, and the growing complexities related to the shifting and intertwined dynamics that are shaping and transforming the food industry on a continuous basis.
The central focus of the dissertation is to explore which are the main impacts of partnerships between non-governmental organizations (hereafter NGOs) and companies at different levels. These strategic alliances involve organizations that have decided to share resources and expertise to pursue one or more common goals, which are not considered achievable if working independently.
The thesis is built around the concept of corporate social responsibility, and several essential theories are reviewed and tested, drawing from the broad literature on this topic, to highlight the main important reasons underlying this rising trend and some possible future directions and developments of these strategies. Moreover, interviews with managers of the selected companies, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders are conducted and analysed to gain direct insights of how these peculiar types of alliance are implemented and how the complexity of bringing together actors with such different interests and perspectives is managed to deliver effective results, going beyond mere transactional or superficial benefits.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages146
SupervisorsPeter Neergaard