Business and Partnerships for Development

European Management Journal, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp. 262-273, 2008

23 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2008 Last revised: 17 Sep 2008

See all articles by Ans Kolk

Ans Kolk

University of Amsterdam Business School

Rob van Tulder

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Esther Kostwinder

affiliation not provided to SSRN


The potential contribution of companies as partners in furthering development objectives is frequently mentioned, but has received limited research attention. What has also remained unclear is to what extent companies can play such a role via the various individual and collaborative means available to them. Collaborative efforts include not only the more well-known partnerships with nonprofit (non-governmental) organisations (NGOs), but also with governments, and even with both parties. This paper analyses the characteristics of development activities undertaken by companies individually and jointly via public-private, private-nonprofit and tripartite partnerships. Using multinationals originating from the Netherlands as empirical setting, we find that private-nonprofit partnerships are most common, with tripartite and public-private partnerships only emerging, also due to divergent views between business and government. Most partnerships are directly linked to companies core activities or focus on the sector or supply chain. A broad, macro development orientation mostly occurs in (tripartite/bilateral) partnerships involving nonprofit organisations. The paper also discusses the implications of the study for partner roles and effectiveness of partnerships, as well as for research and practice.

Keywords: partnerships, development, business, multinationals

JEL Classification: D21, F23, H7, G38, J28, L1, L2, M1, M14, O19

Suggested Citation

Kolk, Ans and van Tulder, Rob J.M. and Kostwinder, Esther, Business and Partnerships for Development. Available at SSRN:

Ans Kolk (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Plantage Muidergracht 12
Amsterdam, 1018 TV
+31 20 525 4289 (Phone)
+31 20 525 5281 (Fax)


Rob J.M. Van Tulder

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR

Esther Kostwinder

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

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