The role of institutional context for sustainability cross-sector partnerships. An exploratory analysis of european cities

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Abstract

Institutional contexts influence structures and processes of any organizational system. Most of the research on cross-sector partnerships (CSSPs) has focused on their internal performance, methods, and effectiveness; however, the institutional contexts that allow or inhibit their development have been limitedly assessed. Many local CSSPs address sustainability issues, and this research explores Barcelona + Sustainable’s and Bristol Green Capital Partnership’s institutional contexts at the local, national, and international levels. Interviews were conducted with the leaders of the partnerships and responses were assessed using Scott’s (1995) institutional pillars. Findings show the cultural-cognitive and normative institutional elements of context as the most relevant for local sustainability CSSPs, with regulatory elements not existing at the national level nor cultural-cognitive at the international scale. More importantly, results highlight trust, diversity, communication channels, sense of place, changing perceptions, and coopetition as key learnings to be considered for other partnerships in their design. Finally, with cultural-cognitive and normative elements speaking of the power of local features, it is these partnerships the ones influencing others beyond their scopes of action, with the potential of leading sustainability even further. However, associated activities and resources to provide stability and meaning to sustainability partnerships must be satisfied for that to happen.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9497
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume13
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep. 2021

Keywords

  • Cross-sector partnerships
  • Institutional contexts
  • Institutional pillars
  • Partner organizations
  • Sustainability

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