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Adaptive responsibilities: Nonlinear interactions in cross sector social partnerships
Volume: 10, Issue 3
This paper presents an instance of failed large scale social innovation from a cross sector social partnership even though the partnership seemed to succeed in its narrow mission. The mechanisms that led to less than complete success can shed light on the reasons behind the failure of social change mechanisms. The case study presented is between a non-profit organization and a business. It demonstrates that when the strategic intent of the social actors is prescriptive, it imprisons the possibilities for fundamental change. This limitation is due to the pre-defined relatively narrow responsibilities associated with different individual or social agents. The paper is calling to move beyond reactive and proactive responsibilities and to shift towards accepting adaptive responsibilities that require a multidimensional understanding towards all three levels of analysis, micro, meso and macro. Adaptive responsibilities is an empowering approach based on the coevolution of organizational actors. It holds the seeds of reciprocal multi-level change.