How might partner selection be improved by corporates to address material sustainability issues? A case study of Northumbrian Water Ltd.

El Mouallem, Lara (2017) How might partner selection be improved by corporates to address material sustainability issues? A case study of Northumbrian Water Ltd. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

This research explores how Northumbrian Water Ltd. (NWL), a UK private sector organization providing water supply and sewerage services, selects nonprofit organization (NPO) partners who contribute to addressing its material sustainability issues. The aim of this research is to provide a framework of partner selection for NWL and other businesses in the water industry who seek to address material sustainability issues through cross-sector (NPO-business) partnerships. There is limited research on how businesses should select NPO partners from an impact or value creation perspective. Moreover, systematc models of materiality analysis are rarely found in the literature. THE GRI is providing guidance on materiality analysis through practice-based standards, but systematic research into organizational practices is limited.

NWL engages in a variety of strategic key partnerships which make it a suitable choice of case study for investigating the partner selection process. The study particularly examines how partnerships can generate impact on material sustainability issues, and how this prospective impact can be evaluated. Template analysis is used to interpret transcripts of semi-structured interviews and a focus group involving key informants from NWL and its NPO partners. The contribution to knowledge is established around the need for having both flexible/reactive/project-based and systematic/proactive/strategic approaches to partner selection while ensuring shared value co-creation. The study further highlights how materiality with respect to sustainability issues can be assessed both reactively and proactively from NWL's perspective, and how this assessment can better inform the partner selection process. Future research avenues can involve investigating the applicability of the partner selection framework resulting from this study to other businesses in the water industry.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: N100 Business studies
N200 Management studies
Department: University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2018 14:40
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 10:03
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/36281

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