Title: Private-public partnerships: corporate responsibility strategy in food retail

Authors: Julia Patrizia Rotter; Nurgül Özbek; Cecilia Mark-Herbert

Addresses: Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU Box 7013, Johan Brauners v 3, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden. ' Department of Marketing and Strategy, Stockholm School of Economics, HHS Box 6501, Holländargatan 32, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden. ' Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU Box 7013, Johan Brauners v 3, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: Private public partnerships (PPP) have been pointed out as institutional conditions that may promote corporate responsibility (CR). Yet, like other relationships, PPP is assumed to rarely succeed by coincidence. A context bound comparative case analysis provides an illustration of how major food retail actors, ICA, KF-Coop and Axfood (accounting for 87% of the Swedish market) view the conditions for the development of a fruitful PPP as part of a CR strategy. Personal interviews with top management representatives based on thematic questions in retail corporations as well as NGOs serve as primary empirics. The logic behind partnerships is simple, but in reality, the cases show that conditions for PPP are associated with many challenges and strategic decisions. A conscientious selection of partners, shared objectives for the partnership and a perceived win-win situation are desired conditions. A wish for exclusivity from the corporate partners on the other hand proves counterproductive for the NGOs.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; CSR; public-private partnerships; PPPs; institutional conditions; food retailing; retail markets; Sweden; ICA AB; Kooperativa Förbundet; KF-Co-op; Swedish Co-operative Union; Axfood; top management; retail corporations; NGOs; non-governmental organisations; strategic decisions; partners; shared objectives; partner selection; win-win situations; exclusivity; corporate partners; sustained competitive advantage; global markets; business excellence.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBEX.2012.044570

International Journal of Business Excellence, 2012 Vol.5 No.1/2, pp.5 - 20

Available online: 29 Dec 2011 *

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