Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study the potential for management development in non‐governmental organization (NGO)‐private sector partnerships. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is an in‐depth case study of a program run by the British subsidiary of a large European financial services company that had sent 60 middle and senior managers and two external consultants over a ten‐year period (1994‐2004) on capacity building assignments to nine NGO partners in southern India. Questionnaires, interviews and archives of the program were the sources of data. Findings – The study finds that assignees described the effect of the assignments on them as profound, some as transformational. Managers completed the capacity building assignments successfully and returned with greater self‐awareness and enhanced self‐confidence, and with a greater ability to handle ambiguity and uncertainty. Based on the input provided by the NGO partners, they also benefited from the assignments. However, the benefits to the private sector company (financial services organization) are not clear from the study. Research limitations/implications – This theoretical contribution is situated in the literature on self‐awareness and proposes management development as a viable objective in NGO‐private sector partnerships. Limitations of generalizing from a single case study are acknowledged and future research avenues identified. Practical implications – The ten‐year experience of a large European multi‐national organization of partnering with nine Indian NGOs highlights rich potential for management development in such partnerships, through the development of self‐awareness and self‐confidence of key managerial talent. The circumstances under which such interventions might be appropriate are suggested. Originality/value – To the authors' knowledge, the potential for management development in NGO‐private sector partnerships has been under‐studied in the academic literature. The authors believe that the paper offers interesting insights and suggests further avenues for exploration.
- Corporate social responsibility
- Management development
- Non‐governmental organizations
- Private sector organizations