As the world increasingly grapples with seemingly intractable issues like climate change, poverty, emphasis has been placed on cross-sector collaborations that leverage capabilities, resources and expertise across sectors to tackle these societal grand challenges. Firm-NGO collaborations are one such cross-sector collaboration thought to hold considerable promise. Nascent evidence, however, is mixed on whether firm-NGO collaborations deliver on that promise. Given the increasing prevalence, and uncertainty of impacts, of firm-NGO collaborations, this chapter argues that there is an urgent need for a comparative approach to their study. I advance a comparative framework and agenda for research with the aim of shifting focus from descriptive analysis of processes within firm-NGO collaborations to interrogating the comparative effectiveness of different collaborations, partners, and alternative interactions, between firms and NGOs in advancing business sustainability. Comparative analysis of firm-NGO collaborations will offer contingent answers to questions of which and when, rather than absolutes, by evaluating different forms of organizing in relation to alternatives, and the shift parameters that favor one to another.
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