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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 weaker market-based institutions make social issues particularly salient for businesses. I use different methods across my papers for analyzing rich qualitative and quantitative data that I have collected myself in very diverse empirical settings. My datasets range from cross-country comparisons to regional studies in Brazil and India. I also study global and domestic firms across different industries as well as diverse nonprofit organizations. Gathering unique data in this way has allowed me to span different levels of analysis: my work shows that the inter-organizational level of analysis (i.e., 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). 

The findings from my work 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.  These findings advance our understanding of how the institutional environment and resource-based mechanisms inform a stakeholder-based view of the firm and vice-versa, with an emphasis on the governance of cross-sector relationships and their implications for firms’ competitive advantage and for social welfare creation.

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 Board of the Strategic Management Journal, 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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