Cross-sector social partnerships, leading by example : a case study of reading for life

McDonald, Sharyn 2009, Cross-sector social partnerships, leading by example : a case study of reading for life, in APABIS 2009 : Strategic Alliances for Sustainable Development : Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Asia Pacific Academy of Business in Society, APABIS, [Hamilton, Vic.].


Title Cross-sector social partnerships, leading by example : a case study of reading for life
Author(s) McDonald, Sharyn
Conference name Asia Pacific Academy of Business in Society. Conference (2009 : Brisbane, Qld.)
Conference location Brisbane, Qld.
Conference dates 5-7 November, 2009
Title of proceedings APABIS 2009 : Strategic Alliances for Sustainable Development : Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Asia Pacific Academy of Business in Society
Publication date 2009
Publisher APABIS
Place of publication [Hamilton, Vic.]
Summary Some exceptional social integrative alliances can go unrecognised amid the swell of high profile initiatives. This may be dependent upon the propensity of the partnering organisations to seize publicity opportunities or public sensitivity towards an issue. This paper focuses on one such exemplar of best practice of social investment in Australia.

A joint initiative between a major manufacturing organisation (Unilever Australasia) and a social nonprofit organisation (Learning Links) has led to the creation of the Reading for Life program. This initiative aims to advance the literacy levels of children in the formative years of education. The examination of this case provides a broader picture of the Australian alliance marketplace and the effects this one successful relationship has had on encouraging further  partners, additional programs and promoting best practice.

The research aimed to uncover the objectives of each partner along with the management processes used, outcomes (both perceived and actual) and future direction. In-depth interviews were conducted across different levels of the organisational structure of each partner in multiple locations within Australia.

Preliminary findings provided an insight into alliance formation and the overwhelming importance of social investment as a core motive. Twelve core factors were identified as contributing to the successful implementation of this relationship. In particular, regular reporting of successful outcomes was an important implementation factor, not only in driving the relationship to new levels, but also in the recruitment of further investment partners.

This case demonstrates that multiple positive outcomes can be gained from cross-sector collaboration. Unilever Australasia has successfully developed a positive corporate culture amongst its employees and will leave a legacy of social investment. Learning Links, with the help of a private sector partnership, has increased its operational capacity and is now established as a trans-national nonprofit organisation. Together they have made a noteworthy contribution to
the improvement of literacy in hundreds of children’s lives and fundamentally paved the way for demonstrating that social investment can be considered a good business outcome.

This case is being used to inform theory on cross-sector collaboration and build on the findings of Austin (2000) in relation to the alliance marketplace and factors inherent in integrative alliances.
Language eng
Field of Research 150303 Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagement
Socio Economic Objective 910402 Management
HERDC Research category E3.1 Extract of paper
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30024762

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management and Marketing
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