Sustainability Narratives: A Social Constructivist Perspective on Interorganizational ProjectsAlperen Manisalıgil, Ümmügülsüm Aysan
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals emphasize the solution of global problems to necessitate interorganizational collaborations. However, organizational differences tend to underpin social paradoxes in these collaborations, which increase the risk that interorganizational projects will fail. Humanity has limited knowledge about how corporate foundations and non-governmental organizations in particular can establish effective collaborations. Using a single case study design to address this question, the study examines the collaboration between the LEGO Foundation and Right to Play, which carried out successful interorganizational projects. The study then analyzes the narratives that are available from secondary data sources through the abstractionist paradigm to identify generalizable patterns. Organizations have been identified to use crisis narratives while selecting partners, identity narratives to evaluate potential collaborations, and transcendence narratives to initiate interorganizational projects. Acknowledging these types of narrative may help reach the Sustainable Development Goals by increasing the effectiveness of interorganizational collaborations.
Sürdürülebilirlik Anlatıları: Örgütler Arası Projelere Sosyal Yapılandırmacı Bir BakışAlperen Manisalıgil, Ümmügülsüm Aysan
Küresel sorunların çözümü için örgütler arası iş birliklerinin gereği, Birleşmiş Milletler Sürdürülebilir Kalkınma Amaçları aracılığıyla vurgulanmaktadır. Ne var ki, örgütler arası zihniyet farklılıklarının doğuracağı sosyal paradokslar, farklı örgüt türleri arasındaki projelerin başarısızlık riskini artırmaktadır. Özellikle şirket vakıflarıyla sivil toplum kuruluşlarının etkili iş birliklerini nasıl kurabildikleri konusundaki bilgi kısıtlıdır. Bu süreci aydınlatmak üzere, başarılı örgütler arası projeler yürütmüş olan LEGO Foundation ve Right to Play arasındaki iş birliği tekil vaka analizi yöntemi ile incelenmiştir. Sürdürülebilirlik akımını şekillendiren sosyal yapılandırmacı çerçeveyle uyumlu bir biçimde, ikincil veri kaynakları soyutlamacı anlatı paradigması üzerinden analiz edilmiştir. Bu analizler aracılığıyla, ilgili örgütler arası iş birliği kurulurken ortak seçimi için kriz anlatısından, ortak değerlendirmesi için kimlik anlatısından, projeyi başlatmak için ise aşkınlık anlatısından faydalanıldığı tespit edilmiştir. Bu anlatı türlerinin tespiti, örgütler arası proje başlatma sürecinin etkililiğini artırarak Sürdürülebilir Kalkınma Amaçlarına erişmeyi kolaylaştırabilir.
Sustainable development necessitates equal access to quality education in order to mitigate wars, poverty, pressure, exclusion, ignorance, and discrimination. However, more than 250 million children are still unable to access decent education. The United Nations announced the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to systematically address global problems, including the lack of equal access to quality education. Because these problems are complicated and intertwined with one another, the United Nations encourages organizations to engage in interorganizational partnerships in order to tackle these grand challenges. Interorganizational collaborations are particularly useful for addressing complicated problems such as quality education and skill development in wartorn countries. Although the resources and capabilities of partnering organizations might complement each other during interorganizational projects, organizational differences may also underpin social paradoxes during the collaborative period. These social paradoxes increase the risks that interorganizational projects will fail or break down. People have limited knowledge especially about how different types of organizations select partners, evaluate potential partnerships, and initiate projects, despite these three stages being critical to the success of interorganizational projects.
This study provides a particular focus on interorganizational projects aimed at providing children with equal access to quality education, especially on the collaborations between corporate foundations as a type of boundary organization with non-governmental organizations. The study employs the single case study design to examine the case regarding the effective partnership between the LEGO Foundation and Right to Play, two organizations that completed four successful projects, primarily in Africa, from 2018 to 2022. Given the strong influence social constructivism has had on the sustainability movement as well as the instrumentality of narratives both in social constructivism and project management, the study analyzes the narratives that are available from secondary data sources regarding those two organizations. The narratives were deciphered based on classic and contemporary narrative definitions, with the abstractionist paradigm being followed for identifying generalizable patterns.
In line with the previous literature, the organizations were noticed to have benefitted from different types of narratives over various stages. The study contributes to the understanding of how to effectively manage interorganizational projects by exploring which narratives are used during each stage of collaboration. The three stages of collaboration this study analyzes are: the stages of identifying potential partners, assessing potential collaborations, and implementing the project. The organizations were detected to highlight prioritizing global problems by engaging in crisis narratives in order to identify potential global partners. These crisis narratives help the organizations distinguish like-minded organizations from the others. Next, these organizations evaluate potential partnerships using an introspective approach. Identity narratives facilitate this introspection by raising the question of “Who are we?” to assess the suitability of potential partnerships as well as to justify their choices to their stakeholders. Next, project partners employ transcendence narratives to eliminate potential tensions due to organizational differences during the initiation stage of the collaboration. Due to effective initiation being crucial for mitigating the risks of projects breaking down or failing, organizations might benefit from being aware of these types of narrative and the corresponding stages in which each particular narrative is ideally used. Organizations might also use their resources and capacities more effectively by understanding how to match specific stages with their respective narratives, as this can help them contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals through interorganizational partnerships.
Future research might overcome the limitations of this study and expand current knowledge. Firstly, follow-up research might employ a multiple case study design to assess the salience of these types of narratives in terms of different types of collaborations. Another complementary study might focus on the types of narratives as well as narrative performances with regard to unsuccessful interorganizational collaborations. In addition, future research might specifically concentrate on exploring the types of narratives to use in later stages of interorganizational project management, such as for scaling-up or terminating projects.