A Case Study of Save The Children’s Cross-sector Value Creation

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: The expanding view of how to deal with societal issues have grown more complex than ever before which have forced, what previously was viewed as unlikely collaborators, to innovate what it means to partner in value creation in support of social progress. The private sectors partnerships with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have previously largely been limited to philanthropy and simple trade-offs. There are great opportunities and benefits to be reaped when expanding beyond traditional views upon cross-sector partnerships which ultimately is paralleled by an urgency within the rapidly growing magnitude and complexity of societal issues. Co-creating values which holds shared benefits have made these actors realize the opportunities within integrating their operations. Co-creative partnerships are needed to pursue enhanced and greater value creation as well as lasting social impact upon societies’ many issues.This thesis uses a case-study design to investigate the cross-sector partnership strategies used by Save the Children Sweden (SC) and how their work can be understood through identifying their partnerships’ collaborative value creation (Austin & Seitanidi, 2012a; 2012b). Shared value is one of the more widely spread concept of how to approach opportunities within these collaborations (Porter & Kramer 2006; 2011). This is later discussed in relation to SC and how to better operationalize shared understanding of value co-creation in partnering. This includes a process of identifying how partners frames value enabling an increased understanding through a value frame fusion. This is suggested as a powerful conceptual tool to overcome challenges within integrated co-creation (Austin & Seitanidi, 2012b).The gathered data is sourced from five semi-structured interviewees with managers at Save the Children Sweden (SC) who have insight on their business partnership. The interview data shows that SC’s business partnerships are broadly divided into either financial or collaborative partnerships. Some of the interviewees show great conceptual knowledge of transcending partnerships strategies referring to theory of shared value creation. In whole the data results indicate that Save the Children Sweden have come far in their development of cross-sector partnerships as they actively have moved beyond philanthropic and transactional partnerships, into partnerships which are based upon integrated value creation. SC are mainly pursuing integrated partnerships through a fairly new program which they call the PLV-program. It aims to develop enhanced integrated partnerships through a shifting mind-set of partnering. The novelty of this pose as the main challenge to SC as they have come far but yet need to coherently formulate what the value proposition of their different partnerships constitutes. The challenges within this tangent this thesis’ research questions of how SC manage their cross-sector collaborations and how they specifically manage the value creation.In the discussion most emphasize is put upon how to conceptualize SC’s partnerships types using the Collaborative Value Creation (CVC) framework of Austin & Seitanidi (2012a), assessing the value types and value sources involved in their partnering. This thesis’ analysis concludes that SC wouldbenefit out of developing an explicit understanding of the constitution and sources of their partnerships’ collaborative values. This includes their more advanced partnership types built around shared value logic and how to address strategical CSR. Consequently, their partnerships strategies share the same vulnerability as the theory of Porter & Kramer (2006; 2011), which lacks an addressing of the fundamental building blocks of collaborating in cross-sector collaboration. SC would have much to earn by better grasping how to frame social value and clarify their value proposition through the conceptual knowledge of the CVC framework. A value frame fusion process can function as an addition to SC current approach of a shifting mind-set logic when they are approach shared understanding with partners. This process adds better balance to the fundamental departure of the partners economic respectively social value frame when initiating cross-sector collaborations.

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