New article by Alex Nicholls and SOCENT researcher Benjamin Huybrechts in the Journal of Business Ethics

The article entitled "Sustaining Inter-organizational Relationships Across Institutional Logics and Power Asymmetries: The Case of Fair Trade", by Alex Nicholls and SOCENT researcher Benjamin Huybrechts, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Business Ethics and is available in an "Online first" version.

This paper explores an empirical puzzle, namely, how inter-organisational relationships can be sustained between organisations that draw upon distinctive—and potentially conflicting—institutional logics under conditions of power asymmetry. This research analyses cases of these relationships and suggests some key conditions underlying them. Examining relationships between "Fair Trade" organisations and corporate retailers, a series of contingent factors behind the dynamic persistence of such relationships are proposed, namely: the presence of pre-existing "hybrid logics"; the use of boundary-spanning discourses; joint tolerance of conflict; and co-creation of common rules. These four elements are supported by a fifth mediating factor, i.e. the presence and use of a Fair Trade certification system in the collaboration. The latter appears as a central vehicle facilitating cross-logic relationships—it can be seen as a "boundary object" embodying a series of narratives and discourses that are open to multiple interpretations corresponding to the dominant institutional logics of each partner organisation.

Click here to download the "Online first" version of the article.