Cross-sector dialogue for sustainability: To partner or not to partner?

Céline Louche*, Suzanne Young, Martin Fougère

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to introduce the topic and review the contributions of the special issue papers on cross-sector dialogue for sustainability. The paper also presents avenues for further research. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on a review of the current literature on cross-sector partnership and dialogue. It explores the current issues in cross-sector partnerships through a discussion of the papers accepted for the special issue, their focus, findings and key contributions.
Findings: It highlights three main key research themes and learnings from the special issue papers: a high level of “hybridity” of collaboration forms, which involve important tensions; a need to understand partnership in its context and the importance of the individual level in cross-sector collaboration.
Practical implications: The authors call for attention to be paid to two forms of myopia: a tendency to view partnerships primarily from a resource-based view (without much attempt to measure societal impact) and a reluctance to be explicitly critical (despite empirical evidence of some suboptimal aspects of partnerships).
Social implications: The authors call for researchers to move away from a resource-based approach to one that is situated in exploring the value derived from partnerships in the broader societal context. The authors suggest some avenues for further research to move the discussion beyond the partnership imperative.
Originality/value: The paper outlines the need to critically revisit the very essence of what real partnership means and whether dialogue is really taking place.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalSustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1161-1177
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 05.07.2021
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • 512 Business and Management
  • CSR
  • Cross-sector partnership
  • Dialogue
  • Sustainability

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising


Dive into the research topics of 'Cross-sector dialogue for sustainability: To partner or not to partner?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this