Linking theories of change and observed reality: the Shea value chain partnership case in Burkina

S. Drost, J. van Wijk, S. Vellema

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic


This case study found out how a public-private partnership in Burkina Faso helped female shea nut producers to link up with the cosmetic industry. Empirical data collected from October-December 2011 revealed that the shea value chain partnership between a international shea processing company, a development organisation, and a local service provider, enabled the connection between the dynamics of the shea market in Burkina Faso, wherein the demand for shea kernels by international and local buyers affects price setting mechanisms, and the logic of locally embedded organisations, wherein local practices of managing information and financial flows and leadership affect the commitment to collaboration. But could a bilateral agreement between a buying company and producer organisation not have lead to the same result? In this case, the likely answer is no. The case study suggests that the added value of the shea value chain partnership lies beyond the technicalities and practicalities of a collaboration protocol between a private buyer and female producer organisations, and comes down to the way in which the protocol stimulates joint navigation by the company and producer organisations. The research found that the ‘hands-on approach’ of an ‘institutional entrepreneur’, the service provider in the partnership, played an important role in the processes of joint navigation under whimsical market conditions and stubborn local practices.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMaastricht
PublisherMaastricht School of Management
Number of pages50
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameMSM Working Paper
PublisherMaastricht School of Management


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