Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Date



Corporations are collaborating to meet complex global challenges heretofore considered beyond the mandate of business leaders. These multi organizational consortia are not philanthropic efforts but operate within market parameters with limited input from Non Governmental Organizations. In order to examine some dynamics of successful collaborative processes, we pursue an in-depth multi-method case study of “The Sustainability Consortium,” which has convened numerous Fortune 50 senior managers since 1999. We uncover the primacy of “relational space” – a rich context of trust and inquiry – within which participants create innovative projects for doing business in a sustainable way. Our analysis uncovers the dynamics among relational space and the action projects that ensue. We also account for the stakeholder influences and governance that form the architecture of collaboration. We develop a process model and propositions for further research.


Working Paper #1027.

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Business Commons



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