Journal of Business Research 65 (2012) 1710–1720
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Journal of Business Research
Social alliances: Business and social enterprise collaboration for social transformation Sema Sakarya a,⁎, Muzaffer Bodur b, Özlem Yildirim-Öktem a, Nisan Selekler-Göksen a a b
Department of International Trade, Bogazici University, P.O. Box 2, Bebek 34342 Istanbul, Turkey Department of Management, Bogazici University, P.O. Box 2, Bebek 34342 Istanbul, Turkey
a r t i c l e
i n f o
Article history: Received 1 July 2011 Received in revised form 1 November 2011 Accepted 1 January 2012 Available online 21 February 2012 Keywords: Inequality of opportunity CSR Cross-sector collaboration Social alliances Social entrepreneurship Social impact Social value Social transformation
a b s t r a c t Social alliances are voluntary collaborations between business and social enterprises addressing social problems too complex to be solved by unilateral organizational action. The present study adopts a systems approach to the study of social alliances and concurrently analyzes the objectives instrumental in the formation of the cross-sector collaboration, the inputs provided by the partners and the outcomes and social transformation impact of the social alliances in a subsistence market place context. The research questions addressed by the study are “Why and with what consequences do business and social enterprises establish alliances?” The exploratory research follows the methodological tradition of using case studies in collaborations. Comparative analyses of the six social alliance cases indicate patterns regarding the adoption and prioritization of alliance- and partnerlevel objectives, provision of resources by partners, intended scope and social transformation impact, and measurement of results. Some of the observed patterns support prior research and are in line with the resource dependence and institutional perspectives. Despite their limited capacity for signiﬁcant social change, the results highlight the potential of incremental contributions of social alliances in social transformation in subsistence market places. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction Social, economic and environmental dimensions of development continue to be the greatest challenges in the 21st century. Governments, international organizations, business and civil society can fulﬁll only one-third of the need to realize international goals focused on human and sustainable development (World Economic Forum, 2004). Many countries are caught in a dilemma of implementing a model that promises strong economic growth with a social vision that incorporates their poor millions into the system and its beneﬁts (Hartigan, 2004). The convergence of economic, social and political pressures is fostering collaboration across various sectors of society (Austin, 2000; Gray, 1985) as a viable and necessary approach to dealing with complex social problems (Trist, 1983). Cross-sector alliances between business and social enterprises are formed explicitly to address social issues and causes that actively engage the partners on an ongoing basis (Selsky & Parker, 2005). These partnerships have become more prevalent in the recent years. United Nations Ofﬁce for Partnerships alone partially funded about 500 cross-sector projects in 2009 with a total value of more than USD one billion (United Nations Ofﬁce for Partnerships, 2009). ⁎ Corresponding author. Tel.: + 90 532 215 17 98, fax: + 90 212 287 24 80. E-mail addresses: [email protected]
(S. Sakarya), [email protected]
(M. Bodur), [email protected]
(Ö. Yildirim-Öktem), [email protected]
(N. Selekler-Göksen). 0148-2963/$ – see front matter © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2012.02.012
As a form of cross-sector partnerships, social alliances are voluntary collaborations between business and social enterprises to address social causes and they emerge as tools for tackling complex, indivisible social problems that single organizations ﬁnd difﬁcult to cope with alone (Waddock, 1991). Distinct from other types of cross-sector collaborations, they adopt non-economic objectives that focus on improving social welfare (Berger, Cunningham, & Drumwright, 2004). Faced with coercive, normative and cognitive pressures from various stakeholders for being good corporate citizens, corporations assume roles beyond that of purely economic actors and engage in social activities that positively impact the societies in which they operate (Brown, Vetterlein, & Mahler, 2010; Dimaggio & Powell, 1983, Smith, 2003). Corporate social engagement through collaboration is providing an opportunity and medium for corporate social performance. Proliferating social enterprises formed to address growing multidimensional social problems and insufﬁcient resources also bring in the need for collaboration (Prakash, 2002). From a resource dependence perspective (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978), the resource complementarities between business and social enterprises motivate them to cooperate. Previous research on collaboration and social alliances contributed to issues like the need for (Brooks, Liebman, & Schelling, 1984; Gray, 1985), the process of creating (Gricar & Brown, 1981; McCann, 1983; Susskind & Madigan, 1984), the structural characteristics of, the ﬁt between partners, factors and circumstances that enable or impede as well as evolution, collaboration value, drivers and enablers of collaborative alliances (Austin, 2000; Berger et al., 2004). Additionally, success and innovation in (Austrom & Paterson, 1989; Dimancescu &
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Botkin, 1986; Hallisey, Sanabria, & Salter, 1987), and the potential of collaboration (Gricar & Baratta, 1983; Logsdon, 1989; Taber, Walsch, & Cook, 1979) have been studied. There is however, a relative paucity of ﬁeld-based studies on alliances between businesses and social enterprises (Austin, 2000). Furthermore, scarcity of empirical studies on the objectives, resources and outcomes of social alliance projects, as well as on the social transformative impact they create remain to be a shortcoming of the literature. Another limitation of extant literature has been approaching the issue of social alliances from the business enterprise perspective only. Past studies adopt an organization-set framework characterizing a single organization as focal (Evan, 1966). Finally, most research on social alliances has been conducted in developed country contexts (e.g. Austin, 2000, Berger et al., 2004). Even though there are numerous examples of studies on commercially derived cross-sectors collaborations targeting the poor as consumers at the base of the pyramid (e.g., Crawford-Mathis, Darr, & Farmer, 2010; Dahan, Doh, Oetzel, & Yaziji, 2010; Johnson, 2007; London, Rondinelli, & O'Neill, 2006; Perez-Aleman & Sandilands, 2008; Prahalad, 2005a; Rashid & Rahman, 2009; Sanchez, Ricart, & Rodriguez, 2007; Seelos & Mair, 2007; Singer, 2006; Webb, Kistruck, Ireland, & Ketchen, 2010; Weiser, 2007; Whitney & Kelkar, 2004), research on social alliances in subsistence marketplaces is limited. The present exploratory study is on the goals of, inputs to, and impact of social alliances. The research questions addressed are “Why and with what consequences do business and social enterprises establish alliances?” The motives of social and business enterprise in forming social alliances are analyzed at both the alliance- and partner levels. The motives and input contributions of the partners are studied from resource dependence and institutional perspectives. While the former theory can be instrumental in explaining the emergence of social alliances, the latter can explain the increasing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in general and the diffusion of social alliances in particular. Additionally, the consequences of the collaboration are studied in terms of reach and immediate results for the recipients as well as the social impact alliances create at micro, mezzo, macro scopes, and at cultural, economic, political spheres. Finally, the study also looks into the practices of the partners regarding the measurement of results. Thus, the extant literature is complemented in several ways. First, the database is expanded by the ﬁndings on the objectives, resources and impact of social alliances in subsistence context. Furthermore, a comprehensive approach to measurement of results is introduced whereby the outcomes and social impact of the alliances as well as performance measurement practices of the partners are studied. Additionally, an organization-set framework is avoided and data on both business and social enterprise partners are collected. The following section covers the discussions on the social engagement of business and social enterprises, social alliances, and the outcomes and social transformation impact of collaboration. The third section outlines research scope and method while the fourth provides a comparative analysis of the research cases and observed patterns. Finally, the ﬁfth section concludes by discussing the results, the contribution and the limitations of the study and implications for future research. 2. Social engagement, collaboration and impact Human development and the reduction of poverty remain as significant challenges of society (World Economic Forum, 2004). Alongside governments, national and international initiatives independently and/or collaboratively engage in efforts to improve the welfare and living standards of disadvantaged populations. Service delivery through non-governmental channels is increasing (Austin, 2000; Berger et al., 2004; Googins & Rochlin, 2000; Millar, Choi, & Chen, 2004; Nelson & Zadek, 2000; Wymer & Samu, 2003), and a wide variety of programs are undertaken to contribute to social transformation at economic, cultural and political spheres (Alvord, Brown, & Letts, 2004). A new
model where collaboration between the private, government, and civil sectors play a central role in achieving sustainable communities is evolving (Googins & Rochlin, 2000). Collaborative alliances are inter-organizational efforts to address problems too complex and too protracted to be solved by unilateral organizational action (Gray, 1985). This study focuses on a particular type of collaborative alliance—the social alliances established by business and social enterprises to achieve non-economic objectives. An overview of the business case for social engagement, social enterprises, a theoretical discussion of why they are motivated to collaborate through social alliances, and the outcomes and social transformation impact of alliances thereof are discussed below. 2.1. Social engagement of business enterprises Business community's concern for society has a long history. Moral and internal drivers, the Industrial Revolution, and the emergence and the decline of the welfare state affected the way corporations engaged socially over time (Brown et al., 2010). In a parallel manner, corporate social engagement shifted from philanthropy to CSR and is increasingly used strategically as a form of social investment (Baron, 2001; Epstein, 2002; Porter & Kramer, 2002). Although the sole responsibility of business enterprises was seen as providing the positive economic returns demanded by shareholders for a long period of time, today they are increasingly expected to provide a range of beneﬁts valued by various constituencies (CED 1971, Freeman, 1984, Smith, 2007). For success and survival, in shaping its strategies, a business enterprise has to take into consideration its interactions with the non-market component of its environment comprising of public, stakeholders, government, media and public institutions (Baron, 1995; 2010; Hemphill, 2005). The penetration of the social realm into corporate strategy gains momentum as the awareness of the need to integrate corporate strategies and social responsibility policies increase (Berger et al., 2004). Through strategic use of CSR, business enterprises aim at supporting core business activities and contributing to the ﬁrm's effectiveness in accomplishing its mission (Burke & Logsdon, 1996). Strategic CSR programs may result in greater customer loyalty, new products and/or productivity gains, enhanced reputation and image as well as increased sustainability (McElhaney, 2009; Pivato, Misani, & Tencati, 2008). There have been attempts to demonstrate empirical support for the commercial value of CSR, its impact on proﬁtability however is controversial. Some ﬁndings suggest that corporate social responsibility and ﬁnancial performance are generally positively related across a wide variety of industry contexts (Orlitzky, Schmidt, & Rynes, 2003; Smith, 2007), and that CSR initiatives can lead to long-term proﬁtability (McPeak & Tooley, 2008). However, there are also studies which report a neutral or a negative relationship between CSR and ﬁnancial performance (Abbott & Monsen, 1979; Alexander & Buchholz, 1978; Vance, 1975). The diffusion of CSR activities may be explained by referring to institutional theory. From an institutional perspective, legitimacy is a vital resource for a ﬁrm and can be obtained by abiding with the normative, coercive and cognitive pressures emerging from the institutional environment (Dimaggio & Powell, 1983; Meyer & Zucker, 1989; Palmer & Biggart, 2002; Strang & Sine, 2002). Normative and coercive pressures have been instrumental in the increasing signiﬁcance attributed to CSR by corporations. Normative pressures stem from organizations which develop norms about organizational structures, processes and practices, such as professional, industrial and businessmen associations, non-governmental organizations and universities. As a response to normative pressures from supranational organizations such as United Nations (UN) and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), companies began to participate increasingly in schemes like Corporate Codes of Conduct (Falkner, 2003, Gulbrandsen, 2004, Mattli, 2003), accept Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD, 2004), disclose
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social responsibility activities in their annual reports (Ertuna & Tükel, 2010) and engage in efforts to solve social problems alone or though cross-sector collaborations (WEF, 2006). Among many such collaborations, some examples include IKEA's partnership with Save the Children and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) for children's education and health, Ford Motor Company's partnership with National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for AIDS, Bank of America's partnership with Natural Step for education on sustainability and Boeing's partnership with Pioneer Human Services for employment opportunities for the disabled (Bies, Bartunek, Ford, & Zald, 2007; Googins & Rochlin, 2000). Coercive pressures, on the other hand, stem from the other organizations that an organization is dependent on and/or that have the power to sanction it in one way or another (Dimaggio & Powell, 1983; Palmer & Biggart, 2002; Strang & Sine, 2002). The increasing emphasis on Socially Responsible Investment by institutional investors such as some pension funds and insurance companies can be given as an example for coercive pressure particularly on quoted companies to act in a socially responsible way (Sparkes & Cowton, 2004). 2.2. Social enterprises Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have grown in number, power, and inﬂuence since the 1980s (Keck & Sikkink, 1998). They have been inﬂuential in policy areas like genetically-modiﬁed organisms, international environmental agreements and pricing and distribution policies in the pharmaceutical industry (Doh & Guay, 2006). As a special category of NGOs, social enterprises are not-for-proﬁt organizations driven by social mission (Sullivan Mort, Weerawardena, & Carnegie, 2003). They use their resources to pursue opportunities to catalyze social change and/or address social needs (Mair & Marti, 2006). They have been an expression of the civil sector's response to local and global challenges and have the potential of engaging businesses and governments to drive social change (Hartigan, 2004). Social enterprises have proliferated to address the growing social problems and the increased demand for their services. Funding sources however have not kept pace leaving them under-resourced relative to both their missions and the magnitude of demand for their services. Today social enterprises are operating in an environment characterized by growing competition for donors and grants (Weerawardena & Mort, 2006). These developments stimulated social enterprises to reach beyond traditional sources and modes of funding (Andreasen, 2003; Austin, 2000; Berger et al., 2004). In their search for new resources, they adopt strategic alliances and cross-sector collaboration as a potential survival strategy (Millar et al., 2004). In cross-sector collaborations, social enterprises offer social capital, institutional linkages and knowledge networks to their partners in return for funds.
supporting relationships between organizations, as in the case of strategic alliances. An alliance can provide important beneﬁts for an organization lacking certain resources since it links the organization to another with complementary resources (Child & Faulkner, 1998). These resources may be capital and non-capital resources (Yan & Gray, 2001) and range from ﬁnancial resources to knowledge and reputation. From the resource dependence perspective, business and social enterprises may establish social alliances to complement each other and face each other's needs (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978). Rather than go-it-alone strategies for addressing a social problem, they may choose to collaborate and seek to realize objectives at alliance- and partner levels. Resource transfer, core competency exchange and joint value creation may emerge as alliance-level objectives (Austin, 2000; Kanter, 1999; Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978). At the partner level on the other hand, business enterprise's social engagement through social alliances can serve as a vehicle for innovative leveraging of resources outside ﬁrms’ control and extending their domain of competence and the corresponding opportunity set (Austin, 2000; Austin & Reﬁcco, 2009; Kanter, 1999). Social enterprise's reputation, legitimacy, past experience in societal projects and human resources can be precious for the business enterprise (Nelson & Zadek, 2000). Increasing number of social enterprises on the other hand, face the problem of insufﬁcient resources for their social causes. Financial resources, managerial expertise, technological and communication support and skilled volunteered work force of the business enterprise can be valuable for the social enterprise (Berger et al., 2004). The emergence and initial diffusion of alliances can be attributed to these resource dependencies between the business and social enterprises, their further dissemination however may be better explained through cognitive pressures put forward by the institutional theory, which parts from the resource dependence theory with its focus on the institutional environment. Cognitive pressures emerge from beliefs, behaviors and attitudes of organizational actors, which in turn, are shaped and limited by the institutional environment they are embedded in. A practice introduced by a reputable organization on the basis of a need may be imitated by others which look upon it as a role model. In other words, a practice may acquire acceptance and diffuse because a reputable organization previously had a positive experience with it (Dimaggio & Powell, 1983; Scott, 2001). In a similar vein, initial adoption of social alliances by some business and social enterprises may lead to their approval as a strategy of CSR by other business enterprises and as a means of reaching resources by social enterprises. Thus, use of social alliances by prominent ﬁrms and their recognition as a successful strategy of CSR, may have led to their identiﬁcation as the “right means of” social engagement. 2.4. Outcomes and social transformation impact of social alliances
2.3. Social alliances Social alliances are voluntary collaborative efforts of actors from two or more economic sectors in a forum in which they cooperatively attempt to solve a social problem of mutual concern (Waddock, 1991). They are distinguished from strategic alliances by two characteristics: partners adopt a non-economic objective that focuses on improving social welfare, and they involve at least one nonproﬁt partner (Berger et al., 2004). The motives of business and social enterprises in establishing social alliances may be analyzed through the lens of resource dependence and institutional theories. Establishing alliances may emerge as a possible solution when resources and competencies are not readily or sufﬁciently available to organizations. From a resource dependence perspective, organizations are engaged in inter-organizational relations in order to exert power, inﬂuence or control over other organizations (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978). However, resource scarcity may also encourage cooperation and lead to emergence of mutually
Impact is deﬁned as “signiﬁcant or lasting changes in people's lives, brought about by a given action or series of actions” (Roche, 1999: 21). Deﬁnitions of impact refer to a logic chain of results in which organizational inputs and activities lead to a series of outcomes and ultimately to social impact. Outcomes are results regarding the number of people reached and cumulative or counter-balancing effects on the population reached (Ebrahim & Rangan, 2010). Social impacts are the consequences to human populations of any public or private action that alters the ways in which people live, work, play, relate to one another, organize to meet their needs and generally cope as members of society (Brudge & Vanclay, 1995). Social impact leads to transformations in cultural, political and economic spheres (Alvord et al., 2004). Cultural impact involves changes to the norms, values, and beliefs of individuals that guide and rationalize their cognition of themselves and their society (Brudge & Vanclay, 1995) and is often difﬁcult to measure since it is indirect to a large extent. Changes in value
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systems, traditional lifestyles, family relationships, individual behaviors, community structures, attitudes and behavior patterns are commonly used in measurement (Ratz, 2000). Measuring cultural impact implies social and individual values estimation. There are no clarifying models on cultural impact evaluation; there are however indirect models imported from various disciplines and contexts (Asensio, 2006). Political impact involves political responses to social structural changes in areas such as population, family, education, labor markets, class structures and life-course patterns. Political responses can take the form of interest formation, political cleavages, political agendas, and policies (Mayer & Hillmert, 2003). Political impact increases the capacity of individuals to voice up their opinions while economic impact leads to an increase in the means and resources for individual productivity enhancement (Alvord et al., 2004). Economic impact is deﬁned as the net change that occurs in an economy as the result of a special event or activity (Long & Purdue, 1990). Economic impact analysis is useful for estimating the effects of a change in economic activity on a region (Dalton, 2004). Major concerns in most economic impact studies are effects on employment, ﬁnancial and physical capital, government services and revenues, production, income/wages and growth (Braun, 1990; Hughes, 2003). Social impact assessment is deﬁned as the process of assessing or estimating, in advance, the social consequences that are likely to follow from speciﬁc policy actions or project development, particularly in the context of appropriate national, state, or provincial environmental policy legislation (Brudge & Vanclay, 1995). Population characteristics, community and institutional structures, political and social resources, individual and family changes and community resources are suggested as dimensions along which social impact can be measured (GPSIA, 1994). The scope of impact can be at the micro, mezzo or macro levels in the social system. The idea of a system may be applied to human society at various levels of complexity. At the macro-level, the whole global society may be conceived as a system; at the mezzo-level, nation-states and regional political or military alliances could also be seen as systems; at the micro-level, individuals, local communities, associations, ﬁrms, families or friendship circles may be treated as subsystems (Becker, 2001; Sztompka, 1994). Social change is conceived as the change occurring within levels of the social system or embracing it. Social impact on cultural, political and economic spheres leads to incremental changes in the system which may gradually lead to changes of the system (Sztompka, 1994). Increasing professionalization of the civil society organizations sector, along with the demands for accountability from stakeholders and funding institutions, business and social enterprises are concerned with measuring and demonstrating results in addressing social problems (Paton, 2003; Brest and Harvey, 2008; Crutchﬁeld & Grant, 2008; Monitor Institute, 2009). A range of tools like corporate social performance indexes (Erden & Bodur, 2010) and logic models (Bickman, 1987; Wholey, 1983) are developed for social performance assessment. These approaches to measuring social value creation are mostly concerned with quantifying outcomes and with utilizing the measure to allocate funding among alternative social projects by private foundations. Measures of performance in the for-proﬁt sector are driven by measures of proﬁt or shareholder wealth. Metrics of performance for the social sector however are limited and measuring social impact is difﬁcult. In the social sector, measures of performance focus on results regarding the social objectives, ﬁnancial performance is a means rather than an end. Social enterprises tend to be more altruistic (Milne, Iyer, & Gooding-Williams, 1996) and measure impact by the number of people reached and social transformation at cultural, economic and political dimensions (Alvord et al., 2004). 3. Research scope and method In past research on collaborations, a prominent methodology has been case studies, which have proven useful for generating theoretical
and practical insights (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994; Eisenhardt, 1989; Gray & Wood, 1991). The present exploratory research follows this methodological tradition. Multiple embedded cases of social alliances are analyzed and cross-case comparisons are made in order to reveal patterns and build explanations (Yin, 2008). Comparative analysis is a useful procedure for analyzing complex phenomena and long-term dynamics (Eisenhardt, 1989). Case descriptions provide the type of information that allows recognition and assessment of patterns that would not be captured by more constrained methodologies such as surveys or experimental designs. The research context is an emerging economy with 18.8% of its population (12,751,000 people) living under the poverty threshold (TURKSTAT, 2009) and is cited among the examples of developing countries with populations in the base of the pyramid (Prahalad, 2005b; Weiser, 2007). The sample is drawn from a population of social alliances which have headquarters located in the largest city of the country and are listed in the web site of the National CSR Platform as of April 2009. Unit of analysis is business and social enterprise dyad. Six social alliances covering 12 organizations (six corporations and six social enterprises) are examined (Table 1). There was an attempt to have a sample of alliances dealing with projects in line with the United Nation's Human Development Index dimensions (i.e. knowledge and education, life expectancy) as well as projects embracing the social system as a whole (e.g. environmental and community development projects). The projects of all social alliances in the sample targeted disadvantaged groups with insufﬁcient resources for day to day living. In order to qualify as a social alliance case, the partnership must have a non-economic objective and must be considered to have strategic importance to the partners. In addition, social alliances in the sample must have a minimum three years of history revealing a working relationship and commitment between partners. Social and business alliances are studied in-depth through semistructured interviews with key decision-makers in both partners. Thus, primary data source is “elite interviews” which is a particularly useful tool when researcher aims to understand the meaning and actions of the actors (Dexter, 1970). Informants are asked to give information on: (a) the motivations for forming the social alliance for the speciﬁc project, (b) resources allocated, outcomes and social impact created and (c) practices for tracking results. In order to avoid biases related to social desirability, interviewees were assured of anonymity. Data were also collected from secondary sources such as annual reports, communications between partners, internet resources, press releases, newsletters and articles from newspapers and industry magazines. Thus, evidence is collected from various sources to enable triangulation as a necessary requirement for ascertaining reliability in qualitative research (Yin, 2008). Data was analyzed by using NVivo software program which provides a computer-based content analysis by coding and categorizing (NVIVO 8, 2008). First, selection and reﬁnement of constructs for the study and the relationships among them were captured using the software program. Later, the four authors independently analyzed the outputs to identify patterns as related to the objectives of the study. Finally, patterns across cases were compared and explanations for the patterns observed were built (Skyes, 1990). 4. Analysis of the cases In this section, following the sample descriptives, the ﬁndings regarding the analyses of the cases are presented in three parts. First, alliance- and partner-level objectives of the social alliances are discussed. Then, within a logic model framework, inputs, outcomes and impact of the collaborative effort are presented in terms of the resources provided by the partners, reach and results attained, and social transformative impact at macro, mezzo and micro scopes and in the economic, political and cultural spheres, respectively. Finally,
Table 1 Sample cases. Recipients, coverage, sector and program area
Reach, scope and social impact
Recipients: 0–6 year-old disadvantaged children and parents Coverage: National Operates in 20 of the 82 cities in the underdeveloped regions of the country. Sector: Education, children and youth Program area: Social constructing, community and rural development, economic opportunities. Recipients: Disabled poor and their families Coverage: Regional operates in one of the seven regions of the country. Sector: Education, economic development Program area: Economic opportunities, employment development. Recipients: Disadvantaged adults seeking free sexual consultation. Coverage: National operates in all over the country by a call center. Sector: Healthcare, education, youth Program area: Social constructing, market development, access in underserved markets. Recipients: Disadvantaged rural girls. Coverage: National operates in the rural regions of the country. Sector: Education, children and youth Program area: Economic opportunities, social constructing, community and rural development. Recipients: Village population Coverage: Regional operates in a village. Sector: Economic development, environmental conservation, education, agriculture. Program area: Economic opportunities, market development, community and rural development, access in underserved markets, social constructing. Recipients: 0–6 year-old hearing-impaired children and their families. Coverage: Regional operates in the largest metropolis in the country. Sector: Education, children and youth, healthcare Program Area: Social constructing, community and rural development, access in underserved markets.
Reach: 22000 disadvantaged children and their parents. Scope: Micro Social impact: Cultural transformation
SA 2 Established in 2005 by a 15-year-old social enterprise with 15 employees and a 6-year-old business enterprise which operates in telecommunication sector with 2563 employees. The social enterprise has a yearly budget of USD 146,479. SA 3 Founded in 1991 by a 25-year-old social enterprise with 17 employees and a 32-year-old business enterprise operating in the trade sector with 214 employees. The business enterprise is an afﬁliate of a domestic business group. The social enterprise has a yearly budget of USD 975,352. SA 4 Established in 2000 by a 21-year-old social enterprise with 26 employees and a 16-year-old business enterprise which operates in telecommunication sector with 2709 employees. The social enterprise has a yearly budget of USD 11,098,591. SA 5 Founded in 1997 by an 18-year-old social enterprise with 114 employees and a 66-year-old business enterprise in manufacturing with 5000 employees. The social enterprise has a yearly budget of USD 6,452,113. SA 6 Established in 2007 by a 42-year-old social enterprise with 16 employees and a 69-year-old business enterprise in the energy sector with 1061 employees. The social enterprise has a yearly budget of USD 344,366.
Reach: 2095 disabled people and employed 1968 disabled. Scope: Micro and Mezzo Social impact: Cultural and economic transformation Reach: 439,000 people seeking free sexual consultation. Scope: Micro Social impact: Cultural transformation
Reach: 20000 rural girls. Scope: Micro and mezzo Social impact: Cultural transformation
Reach: Reached 1200 villagers and farmers. Scope: Micro and mezzo Social impact: Cultural and economic transformation
Reach: Reached 75 hearing-impaired children and their families. Scope: Micro Social Impact: Cultural transformation
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Case SA 1 Established in 2003 by a 17-year-old social enterprise with 119 employees and 15-year-old business enterprise representing an international retail chain with 1000 employees. The business enterprise is an afﬁliate of a domestic business group. The social enterprise has a yearly budget of USD 3,521,127.
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the practices of both social and business enterprises in measuring the results of collaborative effort are presented.
4.1. Sample descriptives The six business enterprises in the sample represent a variety of sectors including manufacturing, trade, information and communication, health care and energy. The average age is 33.3 years and ages range from six to 69 years. The number of employees varies between 214 and 5,000 with an average of 1,968 employees. All but one of the business enterprises are large with more than 1000 employees. The social enterprises in the sample are simultaneously active in several sectors and program areas like education, children and youth, health, environmental conservation, and economic development. They vary in age between 15 and 42 years with an average of 23 years. The yearly budgets of the social enterprises range from USD 146,000 to more than USD 11 million and the average number of employees is 60, ranging between 15 and 119. The longevity of the partnering organizations in the sample is high. The minimum age for all social enterprises and all but one of the corporate partners is 15 years. This pattern in data can imply that the age of the enterprise may be instrumental in the formation of social alliances. The social alliances in the sample vary in age between three and 19 years with a sample average of 9.5 years. The yearly budgets for the alliance projects range from USD 25,000 to more than USD 4 million. All six alliances in the sample target underprivileged populations living under the poverty line. They all employ screening processes and particularly target needy recipients in the lowest socio-economic group of the society. While half of them has national coverage (SA1, SA3, SA4), the others are active at the regional level. Even though they report national coverage, two of these alliances (SA1, SA4) particularly focus on the poorer Eastern and South Eastern regions of the country. Social alliances in the sample carry out projects that are in the areas of expertise of the social enterprise partners. Social alliance cases, their recipients, coverage, sector and program areas as well as their reach, scope and social impact appear in Table 1. SA1 was established in 2003 by a 17 year-old social enterprise and a 15 year-old business enterprise representing an international retail chain. The business enterprise is an afﬁliate of a domestic business group, the founding entrepreneur of which has also established the collaborating social enterprise. The social alliance has an annual budget of USD 133.802. It provides free preschool education for children and parenting, literacy, health and sexuality, and gender equality courses for their families. The scientiﬁcally based education programs are developed and implemented to beneﬁt those children who are inadequately supported in their environments due to their social and economic circumstances and illiterate parents. SA2, as one of the two regional-coverage alliances was established in 2005 by a 15-year-old social enterprise and a 6-year-old business enterprise which operates in the telecommunication sector. The social alliance has a yearly budget of USD 28.169. The alliance provides employment opportunities for the disabled by organizing job interviews with companies and state agencies in its network. It matches the parties' needs, characteristics and criteria using its database and software developed for the purpose. The alliance project also trains the candidate employees for successful interviewing and performance. Additionally, it provides psychological support for the disabled and their families. SA 3 was founded in 1991 by a 25-year-old social enterprise and a 32-year-old business enterprise operating in the trade sector and which is an afﬁliate of a domestic business group. The social alliance has a yearly budget of USD 35.211. It conducts education and consulting activities on sexual problems, reproductive health, maternal and infant mortality and family planning to all sexually active individuals at the lowest socio-economic group through tele-medical advice.
SA 4 was established in 2000 by a 21-year-old social enterprise and a 16-year-old business enterprise which operates in the telecommunication sector and which is one of the largest GSM operators in Europe. The alliance has a yearly budget of USD 4.084.507. It is active in schooling of disadvantaged rural girls by providing scholarships, and in convincing parents and related parties on the importance of educating girls and gender equality. The alliance stresses the need for a systematic identiﬁcation of problems in the social system and expanding efforts for a radical change. SA5 was founded in 1997 by an 18-year-old social enterprise and a 66-year-old business enterprise in manufacturing. The social alliance has an annual budget of USD 134.976. It carries out a rural development project that aims poverty alleviation through local community development in a village. The population of the village who once moved to industrial urban centers with the hope of employment and better living conditions moved back since they could not realize their goals. The alliance helps these people through the creation of new income sources, vocational training on agricultural activities, land erosion prevention, infrastructure investment and founding of cooperatives. The four-year-old SA6 was established by a 42-year-old social enterprise and a 69-year-old business enterprise in the energy sector. The social alliance has a yearly budget of USD 25.352 for the project. It provides speaking therapy programs for hearing-impaired children, psychological support for their families and transportation and food to the recipients for their all-day educational programs. The alliance aims to make deaf children as equal as possible to their peers in every ﬁeld of life. Their objective is to create social awareness on hearing problems through educational seminars and activities and provide necessary education to the deaf children in preschool period. The project emphasizes the importance of preschool education for deaf children, reaches their families and informs them about the importance of early diagnosis and education, and use of hearing devices as early as possible. Selected quotes from the business and social enterprise managers’ comments on the scope of alliance activities and recipient feedback appear in Table 2. 4.2. Alliance- and partner-level objectives Although they may use go-it-alone strategies for addressing social problems, business and social enterprises may also choose to collaborate and establish social alliances. In this choice, the need to create value jointly, to exchange core competencies and to transfer resources may play a role together or each on their own (Austin, 2000; Berger et al., 2004; Kanter, 1999; Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978). These may be possible objectives sought in establishing an alliance for addressing a social cause and are named as “alliance-level objectives” in this study. In addressing social problems through collaboration, social and business enterprises, as actors from different sectors focusing on the same issue however may have different motivations (Andreasen, 1996; Selsky & Parker, 2005), which in turn, are named as “partnerlevel objectives” in this study. Business enterprises may seek to enhance their reputations, appreciation of their stakeholders, loyalty of their customers and identiﬁcation of their employees with the ﬁrm. Social enterprises, on the other hand, may be motivated to form alliances in order to have access to resources like funds and new technology, to enhance their visibility and image, or to follow sectoral practices (Austin, 2000; Brown et al., 2010; Doh & Teegen, 2002; Lister, 2000; Nelson & Zadek, 2000). Analysis of the cases indicates that the business and social enterprises adopt the same alliance-level objectives for the social alliances. Both the business and social alliances report “joint value creation” and “building community capacity” as their two most signiﬁcant alliance-level objectives. However, while joint value creation emerges as the most signiﬁcant objective for the social enterprises, building
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Table 2 Business and social enterprise managers’ perspectives and recipient feedback on social alliance projects. Case Selected quotes SA 1 Our project not only supports children's cognitive development in different ways and prepares them for school, but also places the mothers in the role of an “educator” and makes them more active in their children's development. Moreover, children and mothers grow closer as a result of working together on a daily basis. Feedback from recipients reveals that they learn a lot on child education and feel better equipped as mothers. (Social enterprise manager) SA 2 Give a man a ﬁsh; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to ﬁsh; and you feed him for a lifetime. Similarly, by providing jobs to the needy disabled, we try to make them self-sufﬁcient for a lifetime. (Business enterprise manager) When a disabled is employed, his self-conﬁdence boosts, he gains economic independence, contributes to the family budget and becomes a productive member of the society. Most of our recipients report that through the employment possibilities we have created for them, they now have health insurances which enhance their health, their quality of life and their productivity as well as their families’ who can also beneﬁt from their social security plans. (Social enterprise manager) SA 3 Our recipients are quite ignorant and ask of questions like ‘does holding hands lead to pregnancy?’ (Social enterprise manager) High fertility along with incest and rape are problems especially in the poorest Eastern and Southeastern regions. Every new born add to poverty level of the families. High fertility however, is regarded as a status symbol within the values of the subculture. Women cannot openly seek information on birth control. We work for extending the periods between births thus for healthy pregnancy… Due to cultural norms, victims of rape and incest cannot share their experience and despair and seek help openly. As conspicuous consulting services is not welcome, providing access to information through telephone becomes a viable solution. (Business enterprise manager) SA 4 If I had not taken a scholarship from you, I would not have had a chance to go to school and would have consumed my life in the village doing nothing but getting married and having children… I am happy to go to school and I have hopes for the future. (13-year-old female recipient) As the eldest of ﬁve sisters and a brother in a family who believes that only the male children are eligible for education, I would not have had an opportunity to go to school if your representatives had not convinced my parents and provided a scholarship. Now I am a graduate of one of the best universities in the country and have a Fulbright scholarship for attending a graduate program on education policies in the USA. (College graduate female recipient) SA 5 We aim sustainable development by increasing the agricultural productivity and creating new income sources for the village community. It is not an oasis that we are after, but we are trying to transform this village into one that can create economic value. We analyze all the structural characteristics of the region and try to determine what to do both socially, economically and environmentally, and aim increase in income and life standard for the village population. The other day, one of the villagers who came back recently told me that there has been a considerable increase in welfare level and infrastructure of the village thanks to the project. He doesn't plan to go back. (Social enterprise manager) SA 6 In the socio-economic groups we target where the education level is very low, hearing problems are mistaken for mental retardation and children are socially excluded. Last summer the headman of a close-by village called us to check on a child who was locked up in the barn by his family thinking that he was mentally impaired. We diagnosed that the child had just a serious hearing problem. Now the child and the mother are with us going through our program. (Social enterprise manager) The deaf children were on the stage and were part of a play performing their roles. This doesn't seem something extraordinary for normal children, but for hearing-impaired children and for us it is an amazing achievement. The families were there very happy and highly moved. Even though our recipients are a small group, I think that our services have a great impact on the lives of this group and all the people around them. (Business enterprise manager)
community capacity arises as the most signiﬁcant objective for the business enterprises. Joint value creation refers to the joint products or services derived from the combination of the organizations’ competencies and resources (Austin, 2000). Building community capacity involves working with poor and marginalized populations to identify capacities needed for self-help and helping to build those capacities.
This approach to social problems is grounded in the assumption that local actors may solve many of their own problems with their local capacities (Alvord et al., 2004). Both alliance- and partnerlevel objectives are reported to be successfully accomplished for all partners. Table 3 summarizes the stated alliance- and partner-level objectives and their sequence of importance for social and business enterprises separately. Cross-sector collaborations consist of fundamentally different types of organizations with different motivations (Andreasen, 1996). The stated alliance-level objectives of the alliances in the sample are common for business and social enterprises; partner-level objectives for joining the social alliance however are different. In line with the institutional perspective, the most signiﬁcant ﬁrst two partner-level objectives of the business enterprises are “stakeholder appreciation” and “enhanced reputation and image”. This data supports previous ﬁndings on business enterprises regarding objectives and pursuit of self interests in social collaboration (Alsop, 2004; Austin, 2000; Berger et al., 2004; Friedman, 1970; Iyer, 2003; Zammit, 2004). Both internal and external stakeholders affect organizational willingness to establish partnerships. Stakeholder management is a means to an end; organizations pursue partnerships if they produce the best prospective outcome for the ﬁrm (Berman, Wicks, Kotha, & Jones, 1999). For the social enterprises in the sample, “fund raising” and “enhanced visibility and image” are stated as the most signiﬁcant two partner-level objectives for collaboration with the business enterprises. Prior research supports these objectives and suggests that social enterprise motives tend to be altruistic (Austin, 2000; Berger et al., 2004; Milne et al., 1996; Wymer & Samu, 2003). Social enterprises may view partnerships with businesses as a way to inﬂuence social change (Fabig & Boele, 1999), to become more important institutional actors (Doh & Teegen, 2002) and to access resources (Hudock, 1999; Lister, 2000). These objectives are also in line with institutional and resource dependence perspectives. 4.3. The logic model: Inputs, outcomes and impact 4.3.1. Inputs to the collaboration Inputs provided by the partners are categorized in terms of funds, human resources, organizational infrastructure and supplies, and knowledge, expertise and network. The data indicates a pattern regarding the type of resources provided by the business and social enterprises in the sample studied. In all cases, while ﬁnancial resources are provided by the corporate partners, organizational infrastructure and knowledge, expertise and network necessary to carry out the projects are provided by the social enterprises. When the human resource contribution averages of the business and social enterprises are considered, there seems to be a balance. The average number of employees appointed to the projects of the alliances is Table 3 Alliance and participant level objectives a. Alliance level objectives
Participant level objectives
Joint value creation
Building community capacity Joint value creation
Enhanced visibility and image building
Core competency exchange Resource transfer
Receiving technological support
Enhanced reputation and image Enhanced employee identiﬁcation Increased customer loyalty
Building community capacity Resource transfer Core competency exchange a
In order of signiﬁcance.
Following sectored practices
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14.4 and 16.8 for business and social enterprises respectively. A case by case comparison, however, shows that the social enterprises emerge as the primary contributors of human resources. In most of the cases (SA2, SA3, SA4, SA6), proportion of contribution by the social enterprise is much higher. These observations regarding input contributions in the sample cases support the view that by combining the complimentary resources of the partners, social alliances create new resource constellations for co-generation of social value (Austin, 2000; Austin & Reﬁcco, 2009; Kanter, 1999). 4.3.2. Outcomes Outcomes of the projects in the sample are assessed in terms of reach and counter-balancing and cumulative effects on the population reached. Disadvantaged children and youth, parents, villagers and farmers, the disabled and the unemployed were the recipients of the projects carried out by the social alliances. The results attained for the recipients included education (16.3%), training (0.2%), and advising (82.9%), employment (0.5%) and geographic mobility for better living conditions (0.1%). The reach of the social alliances refers to the number of people affected by their social projects. The number of individuals reached by the projects in the sample range between 75 (SA6) and 439,000 (SA3). A previously used measure of reach of social enterprises suggests that an impact on fewer than 10,000 people is considered to be low and an impact on more than 1,000,000 people is considered to be high (Alvord et al., 2004). Based on these measures, half of the cases in the sample can be categorized as having low reach (SA2, SA5, and SA6) and the remaining half as having medium reach. The respondents in the twelve partners were asked to assess the level of reach of their social projects as either low, medium or high. The business and social enterprises have different perceptions regarding the reach of their social alliance projects. While most social enterprises report a high level of reach, business enterprises report medium and low levels of reach. Regarding the duration and type of outcome, all partners state that the society perceives alliance projects to have cumulative, lifetime results on the target population. Respondents from social and business enterprises report high level of success for the social alliances and their projects. All social and business enterprises report that both partners as well as the recipients have highly beneﬁted from the projects of the alliances. Business enterprises’ report higher perceived levels of success for the social alliances than the social enterprises. This may be due to the fact that social enterprises’ chances of comparative assessment are higher. Social enterprise partners in the sample have 80 operating social projects and are involved in greater number of social alliances relative to the business enterprises (56 vs. 24 in total respectively). They also have a more comprehensive knowledge of the social problems assessed. The fact that the corporate partners contribute ﬁnancially and their intrinsic needs to justify performance might have led to a more positive assessment on behalf of the business enterprises. 4.3.3. Social transformation impact Impact of the projects in the sample is assessed in terms of scope and transformative effects in the economic, political and cultural spheres. The scope of social impact can be at micro, mezzo and macro levels (Becker, 2001; Sztompka, 1994). All the cases report micro scopes and state that they intend to impact individuals and organizations. Among these, three alliances report that they also intend mezzo scope and state that they try to create change at the national level as well. Within a subsistence context with a high level of inequality of opportunity for education (Ferreira & Gignoux, 2010), all the alliances attempt to contribute to human development through providing either education, training or advising for the most disadvantaged populations. Through their social projects, the social alliances affected the lives of more than half a million people, mostly by education, training and advising (99.4%). Previous literature suggests
that businesses are more attracted to direct-impact partnerships such as education, environmental sustainability or job development, than to those with indirect impacts, such as social mobilization, advocacy, or good governance (Ashman, 2000; Hutchinson, 2000). The data indicates that this suggestion is speciﬁcally relevant for subsistence economies where inequality of opportunity is high. As far as the social transformation impact is concerned, the alliance partners report that they have created changes in the lives of individuals and families and thus affected the community and institutions. The respondents were asked to evaluate society's perceptions regarding the signiﬁcance, desirability, scale and intensity of the social impact of their projects. They all state that the signiﬁcance of the social impact created is perceived as very high. With the exception of the corporate partner of the smallest alliance carrying out a social project for the hearing-impaired children (SA6) reporting a neutral level of acceptance and desirability, all other enterprises in the sample report high levels of acceptance and desirability of the initiatives by society in general. The perceptions regarding the scale and the intensity of social impact however were evaluated as medium and low respectively. These assessments of scale and intensity of impact can be interpreted as a natural consequence of the magnitude of social problems addressed in the subsistence context in which the projects are carried out. For all the cases in the sample, the primary sphere of social transformation impact is cultural. All initiatives provide education, training and/or advising and report that they have altered norms, roles and expectations and contributed to social construction of reality by affecting the perceptions, attitudes and behavior of the recipients. Two of the social projects create economic impact and local capacity building through providing means for individual productivity enhancement, employment, new income sources, access to markets through establishing cooperatives and increases in income through training for agricultural methods and productivity (SA2, SA5). Overall social transformation impact of the alliances on cultural and economic dimensions is assessed as medium by the partners. This data supports the previous assessments regarding the effectiveness and sustainability of the efforts of social initiatives and their limited capacity to scale up their impacts into signiﬁcant social changes (Cernea, 1987; Tendlar, 1989). Despite their limited capacity for signiﬁcant social change, social alliances may have contributions to larger economic, political and social systems in which they rest, impact the system that creates and maintains the problem and can generate incremental changes that may catalyze changes in the social system. Deﬁnitions of social change emphasize structural change in relationships, organizations and links among societal components (Farley, 1990; Macionis, 1997; Persell, 1987). Structural change leads to changes of, rather than merely changes in society. Changes in often accumulate and ﬁnally touch the core of the system, turning into changes of the system (Sztompka, 1994). “Social change is mediated through individual actors.” (Hernes, 1976: 514). In subsistence contexts, micro scope social alliance projects aiming individual development may have the potential of initiating changes in the social system.
4.4. Measurement of results Outcome measurement practices of the cases studied indicate that there is growing systemization of the valuation process and methods in the social sector; the level of maturity however is low. With the exception of the corporate partner in SA6—the youngest and the smallest in terms of the alliance budget—all social and business enterprise partners conduct some measurement regarding the results of the collaborative effort. Business enterprises measure results related to participant level objectives and seem to focus on operational gains and competitive advantage derived from collaboration. The common approaches to measurement used include increase in revenues, advertising equivalence, employee commitment, periodic measures of corporate reputation, and national media coverage.
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Social enterprises on the other hand focus on the social goal and the recipients. They do not report any measurement of results related to partner-level objectives. Effect on children and parents, geographical area covered, progress of the disabled employees, calls received, questions asked and progress with the problem, progress of the hearing-impaired children, before and after social, economic and environmental indicators are the measures employed. The common measurement tools used by the social enterprises include on site data collections, assessment tools designed by experts in social psychology, recording devices and enterprise information systems. This data on societal and partner level impact measurement practices of the social enterprises is in line with the observation that social enterprises motives tend to be altruistic (Milne et al., 1996). This difference in focus between social and business enterprises regarding measurement of results may be interpreted as an indicator of different prioritized objectives. 5. Discussion and conclusion Multi-dimensional social problems which no party can tackle on its own bring in the need for collaboration between business and social enterprises. In an effort to build an infrastructure to deal with poverty for example, the role of aid relief and subsidies was challenged and wealth creation through private and social sector collaboration was suggested as an alternative (Prahalad, 2005b). In response to growing social problems, cross-sector collaborations in the form of social alliances as well as ﬁrm/NGO partnerships aiming the poor as consumers or producers have increased signiﬁcantly in number recently (Berger et al., 2004; Elkington, Fennell, & Bendell, 2000; Wymer & Samu, 2003) and have drawn the attention of academicians from various disciplines (Selsky & Parker, 2005). The present research complements the literature on social alliances in several ways. It adopts a systems approach to the study of social alliances and analyzes the objectives instrumental in the formation of the cross-sector collaboration, the inputs provided by the partners and the outcomes and social transformation impact of the social alliances in a subsistence market place context. Additionally, the study adopts a new approach to studying cross-sector collaboration. An organizationset framework characterizing the business enterprise or the social enterprise as the focal organization is avoided and data from both partners of the cross-sector alliance is used. Extant literature is also complemented by adopting a comprehensive approach to the measurement of the outcomes and impact of collaboration. In addition to identifying the outcomes of the social alliance projects, the intended scope and sphere of the social transformation impact they create are studied through an approach based on the review of social change and impact literatures in sociology. The outcomes of the alliance projects are measured by the number of people reached and the counter-balancing or cumulative effects on the population reached. The scope of impact is measured at the micro, mezzo and macro levels of the social system reﬂecting changes in individuals and organizations, in nation-states and in the global society, respectively. Along with the scope, the study also looks into the social transformation impact of the alliances at cultural, political and economic spheres. Furthermore, methods utilized by the partners to assess results against the partner and alliance-level objectives are studied. Six social alliance cases, covering 12 organizations (six business enterprises and six social enterprises) are analyzed by multiple sources of evidence including several secondary data sources and in-depth interviews with key informants from each partner. Our observations suggest that both social and business enterprises have the common alliance-level objectives for forming the social alliance: “joint value creation” and “community capacity building”. At the partner level however, businesses aim at “stakeholder appreciation” whereas social enterprises seek for “fund raising” opportunities. These practices regarding the adoption of objectives indicate a common pattern. The alliance-level objective of the collaborative effort and partner level
motives for collaboration is different in social alliances. Business and social enterprises share common alliance-level objectives; the participants however have different incentives for joining the alliance. The stated partner-level objectives suggest that adoption of collaborative strategies for social causes is primarily derived from ﬁnancial resource dependence for social enterprises and from concerns for legitimacy for business enterprises. In line with resource dependence perspective, needs of the partners in the social alliances are complementary. Additionally, the emphasis of the business enterprise on legitimacy supports the institutional view that legitimacy is vital for the survival of organizations. Collaborative resource mobilization strategies of the social alliance cases studied suggest that corporate partners provide funds while social enterprise partners provide knowledge, expertise, organizational infrastructure and established social networks as complimentary resources for co-generation of social value. Regarding the outcomes, scope, and sphere of the impact of collaboration, there is still a long way to upgrade the achievements in terms of the number of people reached by and the level of social transformation impact of the projects. Social and business enterprise partners perceive the social transformation impact of their alliances to be at medium level. Social enterprises have a relatively modest assessment of results. This may be because they have a deeper understanding of the social problems in comparison to the business enterprises. The ﬁndings on social transformation impact indicate that social alliances embedded in subsistence contexts with high levels of inequality of opportunity tend to undertake micro scope projects, have cumulative lifetime effects on the recipients and primarily aim the cultural sphere. These ﬁndings support the argument that social and business enterprise collaboration can be instrumental in initiating social change (Roberts & Bradley, 1991). Given various levels of complexity of the human society, social impact of the alliance projects at the micro-level may lead to incremental changes in the system and may reﬂect to mezzo and macro levels in the long run. The incremental contributions of the social alliances may accumulate in the changes in the system and may in the long run have the potential of turning into changes of the social system (Sztompka, 1994). Outcome measurement practices of the alliance partners follow a pattern in which business enterprise partners track results related to participant level objectives and operational gains from collaboration while social enterprises measure results related to social transformative effect of the project. This may be an indicator of the differences in the priorities of the partners in establishing social alliances. The patterns observed by the comparative analysis of the cases invite further research by enlarged sample of cases and must be considered in the context of the limitations of the study. The sample is drawn from an emerging economy, thus the patterns and the conclusions may be particularly relevant for similar contexts. Although perceptual data are well established and is widely used in the study of alliances (e.g. Child & Yan, 2003; Yan & Gray, 2001), the analysis of some impact issues like society's response to the social alliances’ projects, and levels of social transformative effect in economic, cultural and political spheres are based on perceptions of the respondents. Furthermore, even though the study addresses the objectives, inputs to, outcomes and impact, and impact measurement practices of the alliance partners, issues concerning the practice of partnerships regarding aspects like challenges of forming social alliances between partners from different sectors and leadership, as well as organizational structure and collaboration dynamics were beyond scope. Finally, the cases in the sample were examined at one point in time. Longitudinal case studies may prove to yield a better understanding of cross-sector collaboration for social causes. Cross-sector collaboration between social and businesses enterprises addressing social problems is an increasingly important phenomenon that deserves further study. There is a need for further ﬁeld-based research to expand the empirical database on such collaborations. Future studies on social alliances may replicate and corroborate the patterns indicated by this study in different contexts. Further research
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