An increasing body of institutional research has examined organizations’ response to conflicting institutional logics, but few studies have looked into how cross-sector organizational actors experiencing institutional complexity strategize their response mechanisms to create value in the context of corporate social responsibility. We conduct a comparative case study of nine social partnerships between multinational companies and nonprofits in China. We identify a partnership logic among the value-creating partnerships where partners guided by an either/and mindset take joint ownership of the social or sustainability issue/cause and integrate it into their core set of activities and goals. By contrast, the less successful partnerships guided by an either/or mindset pursue a substitution logic in which the issue and project are kept separate and marginalized from core activities and goals. We contribute to an understanding of the value creation of cross-sector social partnerships by revealing the institutional embeddedness of such partnerships and deriving a process model of collaborative value creation through institutional works in social partnerships.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-020-04548-8
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