In this article, we suggest that one of the unexplored paths toward collaboration between firms and civil society organizations starts with confrontation or potential conflict, and that the transition toward collaboration can be further understood if one focuses on triadic relationships rather than dyadic ones. We analyze the presence of third parties and their different roles to explain how collaboration is facilitated. The article aims at bringing together the bodies of research on business–civil society confrontation and on business–civil society collaboration. It offers a comparative analysis of four case studies, and proposes a typology of third parties composed of facilitating allies, participating allies, mediators, and solution seekers. We conclude with some implications for further research as well as for practice.
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