Partnerships for Development: Four Models of Business Involvement
Over the last two decades there has been a proliferation of partnerships between business and government, multilateral bodies, and/or social actors such as NGOs and local community organizations engaged in promoting development. While proponents hail these partnerships as an important new approach to engaging business, critics argue that they are not only generally ineffective but also serve to legitimate a neo-liberal, global economic order which inhibits development. In order to understand and evaluate the role of such partnerships, it is necessary to appreciate their diversity with respect to not only the activities that they engage in, but also the degree to which they are subject to social control. This paper distinguishes four different types of business partnerships, based upon differing degrees of social control: conventional business; corporate social responsibility; corporate accountability; and social economy. Each type of partnership is described, their basic forms are noted, and the conditions and prospects for them contributing to development are examined. By way of conclusion, an analysis is offered of how the different types of business partnerships relate to different conceptions of development and function as policy paradigms to promote different globalization agendas.