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Civil Society–Business Relations

Seitanidi, M. May and Ebrahim, Alnoor and Austin, James E. (2022) Civil Society–Business Relations. In: List, Regina A. and Anheier, Helmut K. and Toepler, Stefan, eds. International Encyclopedia of Civil Society. Springer Reference Live . Springer, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 1-10. E-ISBN 978-3-319-99675-2. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-99675-2_26-1) (KAR id:97798)


Civil society organizations (CSOs) and businesses have a long and diverse history of relationships, ranging from confrontation to collaboration. Over the past decades, there has been growing attention among scholars and practitioners to understanding the challenges and dynamics of civil society–business relationships. This increased interest has been especially pronounced internationally on issues of societal or public concern, such as environment, poverty, human rights, and most starkly, global health pandemics such as covid-19, referred to as “Grand Challenges”.

As companies have gone global in their operations, so too have their engagements with CSOs (Kulik, 1999; Bendell and Kearins, 2005). At a global level, the United Nations adopted a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to galvanize action by governments, business, and civil society towards socially inclusive and sustainable development (George et al., 2016). Specifically, SDG#17 refers to the “Partnerships for the Goals” highlighting the urgent need for collaboration across the sectors to mobilize, redirect and unlock both capital and transformative action to deliver on sustainable development objectives at global, regional, national and local levels. Notably, the SDGs face an annual financing gap of approximately US$ 2.5 to 3 trillion that cannot be filled without substantial business commitment (UNCTAD, 2014).

Our discussion below focuses on civil society–business relations in an international context. Despite country-specific variations, interactions between the two sectors occur almost universally. While the frameworks discussed here appear to have considerable applicability across countries, research has shown that cultural and institutional differences affect the interaction dynamics (Austin et al., 2004;

Sanborn and Portocarrero, 2005).

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/978-3-319-99675-2_26-1
Uncontrolled keywords: Civil society-Business Relations; cross-sector social partnerships; nonprofit-business collaborations
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Depositing User: May Seitanidi
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2022 15:47 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2024 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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