Culture Clash and Mediation: Exploring the Cultural Dynamics of Business - NGO Collaboration
Greener Management International, Volume 24: 61-76, 1998
24 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2015
Date Written: 1998
This paper applies an organisational culture perspective to the study of business-NGO collaboration. It focuses on showing both the importance and limitations of understanding and managing cultural differences between participating organisations. The findings presented in the paper are largely developed from an extensive qualitative case study conducted by the author of one such collaboration, the WWF 1995 Plus Group. In particular, the author details the way in which those involved in the collaboration interpret and explain cultural distinctions, and it is shown how different perspectives on organisational culture might be brought to bear on understanding these distinctions.
The key research findings of the paper centre on the role of cultural mediators. This construct is introduced to explain the crucial part played by certain individuals within the collaboration who were found to translate cultural knowledge between different groups and to act as architects of shared meanings across these groups. This buffering role of cultural mediators is examined in some depth and the possibilities and drawbacks associated with managing such dynamics are explored. In the concluding section, the contribution of the organisational culture perspective to our understanding of business-NGO collaborations is evaluated, and recommendations for more effective management of such collaborations are presented.
Keywords: Cross-sector partnership, collaboration, NGOs, CSR, Forest Stewardship Council, organizational culture, corporate greening, business and sustainability
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation