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A strategic approach to sustainable partnership development

Peter R.J. Trim (Department of Management, Birkbeck College, Centre for Advanced Management and Interdisciplinary Studies, University of London, London, UK)
Yang‐Im Lee (School of Management, University of London, Egham, UK)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 16 May 2008




The purpose of this paper is to make clear the role that marketing plays in the strategic decision‐making process; it highlights the influence that marketers have in the development of sustainable partnership arrangements; and outlines the link between organizational learning and strategy implementation.


A review of relevant literature and critical insights into various management theories are provided. A conceptual sustainable partnership development (SPD) model is outlined and placed in context.


In order to be successful, a partnership arrangement needs to be well resourced and effectively managed. Senior managers need to pay particular attention to the role that organizational learning plays and how strategic management knowledge is developed. They also need to understand the link between organizational learning and customer relationship management. The transformational leadership model can be embraced as it facilitates cultural change, promotes the collectivist decision‐making approach, and places product innovation within the context of a multi‐dimensional R&D strategy.

Research limitations/implications

Areas of management interest that need further attention include ways in which to assess an organization's level of vulnerability; the development and application of hybrid organizational models; and how marketing decisions influence R&D programmes. Industry specific corporate social responsibility models are of interest and can be researched also.

Practical implications

Hybrid organizational cultures are evident in partnership arrangements and give rise to various types of communication problems. Senior managers need to be fully aware of how a partnership arrangement is to be managed in the long term in order that it can be viewed as sustainable. Attention also needs to be paid to the technical knowledge and skills required at each stage of development of a partnership arrangement.


The work integrates a diverse range of management knowledge and provides insights into what makes a partnership arrangement sustainable. The SPD model highlights the link between marketing and strategic management, and the body of marketing knowledge is interpreted from a management perspective.



Trim, P.R.J. and Lee, Y. (2008), "A strategic approach to sustainable partnership development", European Business Review, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 222-239.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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