Microfoundations of Partnerships: Exploring the Role of Employees in Trickle Effects
16 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2013 Last revised: 9 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 1, 2013
The growing body of literature on partnerships has paid most attention to their implications at the macro level, for society, as well as the meso level, for the partnering organizations. While generating many valuable insights, what has remained underexposed is the micro level, i.e. the role of managers and employees in partnerships, and how their actions and interactions can have an effect on the spread and potential effectiveness of collaborative efforts. This article uses a case-study approach to empirically explore the patterns and potential boundary conditions of so-called ‘trickle effects’ of partnerships among individual actors within and outside partnering companies, which have thus far only been proposed conceptually. Based on interviews with employees from three different companies, we found evidence of trickle-down and trickle-up effects with higher and lower management, as well as trickle-round effects with colleagues, family, friends and customers. The article discusses several partnership characteristics that seem to play a role, and notes implications for research and practice.
Keywords: Partnerships, corporate social responsibility, employees, trickle effects, micro-level interactions, diffusion mechanisms, micro-foundations
JEL Classification: D21, J28, L20, L31, M12, M14, M39, M54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation