Research Output

Exploring the Role of the Stakeholder in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Cross-sector Collaborations: a Phenomenological Study

  This thesis aims to explore the experiences of those individuals involved in the phenomenon of cross-sector collaborations within the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) global food sector. The research is situated within a landscape of diminished availability of funding for Non-profit organizations (NPOs) in which new ways of achieving sustained funding are being sought. Coupled with the emergence of increased Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity from Commercial Entities (CEs), in part driven by societal pressure for companies to ‘do more’ and the resultant motivation for CEs to deliver effective CSR programmes, cross-sector collaboration appears to offer a methodology through which both sides can achieve their respective aims. The research gap identified focuses on the lack of understanding of the micro-processes, or attributes of the relationship, at the micro-level of partnership interaction.
The sample group was accessed from individuals with extensive experience of NPO-CE collaborations within the area of FMCG global food production. This access allowed the experiences of some of these individuals to be gathered and explored within this study. Data collection techniques took the form of semi-structured interviews with twelve senior executives. An interpretivist approach was employed using a phenomenological research design to elicit an understanding of the experiences of the respondents’ involvement with NPO-CE collaborations. The intention was to afford the respondents the opportunity to recount their own experiences in their own terms and with their own emphasis on what was important to them within the broad structure provided by the three core categories drawn from the literature: value creation, partnership processes and relationship dynamics. A thematic data analysis was conducted using the framework developed from the initial literature review and subsequent agenda developed.
The findings of the study have numerous implications for both academics and practitioners. Firstly, the study contributes to knowledge through the increased understanding of the nature of NPO-CE collaboration at the micro-process level from the perspective of the individual and provides insight into the nature of such relationships. It suggests a number of attributes that are viewed as significant by those involved in NPO-CE relationships at the individual level, including the confirmation of the importance of trust, effective leadership and formal and informal control measures. Secondly, numerous implications emerge for the practicing manager from the study, including perspectives on the demands, risks and rewards at both the individual and organizational level for managers engaged in cross-sector collaborations. Ultimately the study suggests that the traditional linear temporal framework for cross-sector collaboration development should be viewed as more cyclical in nature, and that the concomitant organizational demands of such an approach should be reflected in the decision-making processes ahead of any potential NPO-CE collaboration. The essence of this revised framework is presented in the form of a conceptual model The exploratory nature of the study has facilitated the identification of areas where future research is required, including: the challenges associated with implementing strategic agility within NPO-CE collaborations; exploring mechanisms for building and maintaining trust within a sustained collaboration; and the potential to develop the conceptual model into a decision-making framework for managers of future NPO-CE collaborations.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    26 April 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    HF Commerce

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    658 General management

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Axon, D. (2016). Exploring the Role of the Stakeholder in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Cross-sector Collaborations: a Phenomenological Study. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Corporate social responsibility; cross-sector collaboration, attributes; micro-processes; individual perspective; FMCG global food; phenomenology

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