Power in multi-stakeholder partnerships: a conceptual framework

A.R.P.J. Dewulf, Willem Elbers

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademic


Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships (MSPs) are often characterised by asymmetries in power. These asymmetries are thought to have a range of undesirable consequences as low-power stakeholders may be co-opted, ignored or excluded by dominant parties. As of yet, there has been relatively little conceptual work on power strategies in MSPs. This paper addresses a number of conceptual limitations of the existing literature and offers an integrated theoretical framework for empirically analysing power sources and power strategies in MSPs. The framework analytically connects the power game within MSPs to their broader institutional setting. It distinguishes between having and exercising power, and between direct and indirect power strategies. This allows to spell out how sources of power (resources, legitimacy and authority) are used in direct and indirect power strategies that steer the course of the MSP. The resulting framework results in a number of guiding analytical questions which are essential for understanding power in MSPs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event30th Annual Conference of the International Association for Conflict Management - Berlin, Germany
Duration: 9 Jul 201712 Jul 2017


Conference30th Annual Conference of the International Association for Conflict Management


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