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My research is situated at the intersection of nonmarket strategy and multinational management. It explains how firms can collaborate with nonprofit organizations and/or governments to solve ESG and sustainability issues of mutual concern. 

This phenomenon corresponds to the 17th of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which is the only goal that designates a means to an end: forming “a global partnership for sustainable development” is a key mechanism for achieving future peace and prosperity via the sixteen other goals (e.g., no poverty, zero hunger, economic growth, gender equality). However, organizational differences across the private and nonprofit sectors generate not only valuable resource complementarities, but also collaborative challenges which may undermine the promise of cross-sector partnerships.


Empirically, I focus on how cross-sector collaboration can be effective in emerging markets, where social issues are often particularly salient for businesses. To study this phenomenon, I have collected novel datasets composed of rich qualitative and quantitative data in very diverse empirical settings. These range from cross-country comparisons of corporate disaster response to regional studies of supply chain development in Brazil, CSR implementation in India, and access to healthcare across Sub-Saharan Africa. The organizational settings she studies span global and domestic firms across different industries as well as diverse nonprofit organizations. 

My research addresses two main questions that are key to understanding cross-sector partnerships. First, how can effective governance of cross-sector partnerships help build better institutional infrastructure? This research stream explains, for example, how a firm can bring together diverse organizations to improve historically marginalized communities’ access to education, financing, and legal frameworks that are essential to its own supply chain development. Second, how can organizations adapt their strategies for engaging different types of stakeholders in response to changes in the institutional environment? This research stream explains, for example, how firms respond to new legal mandates for CSR or under what conditions they increase their engagement with NGO partners after a corruption probe. 

Throughout these two research streams, my work connects multiple levels of analysis: it shows that the inter-organizational dynamics of cross-sector partnerships can be better understood in light of underlying intra-organizational factors (i.e., the people within partner organizations that are involved in making these relationships work) and the overarching macro-level environment (i.e., the institutional constraints that partners are affected by and seek to alter). Overall, her findings help explain (1) under what conditions different types of corporate-nonprofit partnerships are most effective, (2) why they often fail to materialize, and (3) how partners can maximize the benefits and minimize the costs of collaboration.  

Aline Gatignon is an Assistant Professor of Management at the Wharton School. She is also a member of the Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI),  a Faculty Affiliate with the Wharton Social Impact Initiative and Penn Center for Africana Studies, and a Senior Fellow with the Global Scope Lab (GLOB-S) at George Washington University.

She completed her Ph.D. in Strategic Management at  INSEAD, and previously received a M.A. in Development Economics and a B.A. in Political Science from the Paris Institute of Political Science (Sciences Po).

Aline’s research and pedagogical case studies have been recognized with several awards, including the Strategic Management Society Best PhD Paper Award and the European Foundation for Management Development case study competition award. Her work has been listed as part of INSEAD’s “50 Years, 50 Women, 50 Ideas” series.

She currently serves on the Editorial Boards of the Strategic Management Journal and Organization Science, sits on the Executive Committee of the STR division for the Academy of Management Association, and is a Representative-at-Large for the Stakeholder Strategy Interest Group of the Strategic Management Society.

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