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Arno Kourula

We are facing a range of grand challenges in aiming to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. While traditionally we have used hierarchical government-led and/or market-based approaches to try to solve these challenges, we are seeing a burgeoning of initiatives in the form of collaborative networks. In this chapter, the author examines developments in the field of alliance network studies, focusing particularly on developing the recent notion of an organizational role. In line with the analysis of a particular alliance network, the Better Buildings Alliance, by Peterman, Kourula and Levitt (2014; 2015), a role is seen to consist of three key interrelated elements: the drivers of an organization to participate within the network, the organizational resources applicable to the network, and the relationships to other actors within the network. A role and its constitutive elements are important tools to understand both organizational outcomes in alliance networks as well as the broader dynamics, efficiency and effectiveness of the entire network. Thus, the concept of roles allows us to better understand the individual, organizational, network and broader institutional context related dimensions of alliance networks as drivers of inclusive innovation. This chapter offers an overview of underexplored themes and questions in inclusive innovation for each of these levels of analysis and a research agenda for future exploration of these forms of alliances from a role-based perspective.