Understanding and managing coopetition for sustainability : process and outcomes

Abstract: Scholars highlight the potential gains of collaboration between competitors for supporting sustainability but there is a lack of both theoretical and empirical studies. In this thesis I aim to enhance the understanding of 'coopetition forsustainability', which I define as 'an inter-firm phenomenon where actors fromthe same industry simultaneously cooperate and compete with the intent to achieve environmental, economic, and social benefits'. By investigating the process and outcomes of coopetition for sustainability I develop several analytical tools for the systematic exploration of the coopetitive interaction for reaching sustainability goals and show that coopetition for sustainability raises numerous knotted paradoxical tensions. I further reveal organizing and regulating mechanisms that actors use to address these tensions, and which can motivate greater extents of sustainability in terms of outcomes.This thesis consists of six appended papers (two conceptual, two qualitative, and two quantitative) that explore coopetition for sustainability in three contextual settings (Swedish, Polish, and Belarusian housing). Collectively, the papers span several theoretical frameworks (paradox theory, sustainable value, modern portfolio theory) and methodological approaches (systemdynamics, in-depth case study, survey questionnaires). Overall, my explorations in this thesis show that whilst coopetition for sustainability is a complex, tensionfilled phenomenon, it has great potential to advance sustainability in both theory and practice. I contribute to theory by generating novel insights into: (i) The process of coopetition for sustainability showing how actors organize collaboration for sustainability and how they respond to paradoxical tensions they frequently experience; (ii) The outcomes of coopetition for sustainability, which I systematically conceptualize and model. I also offer several implications for practice that can help managers to navigate the process of coopetition for sustainability in order to enhance economic, social and environmental outcomes.