Getting it Right
Making Corporate-Community Relations Work
Author: Luc Zandvliet and Mary B. Anderson
Publication Date: 2009-04-15
Publisher: Greenleaf Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-906093-19-8 | 240 pages | Hardback
RRP: £RRP: £ 25.00
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Getting it Right reports, analyzes, and sorts the broad and varied experiences of these many corporations, bringing forward the lessons that can be usefully applied in other settings. The aim is to help corporate managers get it right with respect to interactions with local communities, so that they can more efficiently and effectively accomplish their production goals and, at the same time, ensure that local communities are better (rather than worse) off as a result of their presence. The book also addresses what has been learned about how companies can interact, appropriately and positively, with national governments and advocacy NGOs in ways that promote, rather than undermine, the welfare of the citizens of the countries where they operate.
The book provides a treasure trove of practical experience against which other managers can analyze their own situations and, using what has been learned by smart colleagues before them, arrive at sound, practical approaches to their daily challenges.
Getting it Right will be an indispensable resource for all managers working in community relations or responsible for operations in difficult locations, as well as for students of development studies, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, the extractive industries, and stakeholder management.
"This is by far the best book on community relations for corporate practitioners that I have read. It lays out the rationale, the issues and the pitfalls in a strikingly simple but profound way and presents real case studies that point the way to positive outcomes for all stakeholders."
Dr Chris Anderson, Director Corporate and External Affairs Africa, Newmont Mining Corporation
Getting relations right with communities is critical to business success but very challenging. This extraordinary multi-year global study of business and community interactions is richly filled with insightful, practical, and clear advice on how companies and communities can avoid costly mistakes and construct powerful and mutually beneficial relationships."
James E. Austin, Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, Harvard Business School
Why do so many corporations, despite the best of intentions, get it wrong when they set up shop in poor communities? This book not only clearly explains why, but it also offers a rich array of practical and sensible recommendations on how to get it right, based on years of painstaking field research and analysis of the complex interactions between communities and corporations. This book not only fills an important gap in the corporate social responsibility field but its principles and advice help us understand what we mean when we speak of sound and sustainable development. It should be required reading for the executive about to embark on a field posting, but also by any development practitioner that is interested in understanding how to interact with poor communities."
Ian Bannon, Sector Manager, Fragile States, Conflict and Social Development, Africa Region, World Bank
For people interested or involved, directly or indirectly, in CSR, this was the 'missing' book, which is now a reality."
Jean-Pierre Cordier of French oil company Total
ReviewsEagle Bulletin 19.6 (May 2010)
This is a book that all new managers (and perhaps seasoned ones too...) venturing for the first time into overseas divisions of their companies, should read carefully and think about. It is one of the most practical and focussed books on the topic of corporate-community relations that I have read.
The book is peppered throughout with quotes from members of both the corporates and the communities, discussing and commenting upon their good and bad experiences. Some of the assumptions commented upon highlight how important it is when working with communities to listen and understand where they are coming from, rather than impose your own values, views and visions upon them.
Section 1 focuses upon the concept of "getting it wrong and getting it right". A understanding of the variability of "wrong and right" is clearly an important first step and recognising the fluidity of this is also emphasised, both directly and indirectly. The short, eight pages on corporate operation in situations of conflict, is very valuable and helpful. Section 2 looks at hiring policies, community consultation and negotiation, community projects, working with NGOs and working with governments. Section 3 examines the internal issues and management activities and discusses the measurement of the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement.
I found the index very well organised to enable "dipping in" to the main text to explore different concepts and topics and the use of tables and figures to consolidate options and ranges of responses was very helpful.
Highly recommended as a book with practical insights and guidance, based upon the hard-won experience of others.
Jill Shankleman, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC, in Development in Practice 20.1 (2010)
The authors of this book, are among the wisest of those who advise corporations on community relations. They, and colleagues involved in the Corporate Engagement Project, have published over the last few years a series of valuable 'field notes' that dissect relations between corporations and communities and recommend actions to establish or maintain good relations, and repair damage (www.cdainc.com). This book draws on these findings and expands the insights from individual cases into a general model that provides a framework for thinking about corporate community relations, and provides specific advice on a series of topics such as compensation and local employment that are central to those relations.
This book starts from three important observations, which match my experience of working on such projects worldwide. First, communities often welcome these projects ... Second, the corporations running them are typically not villains ... third, despite initial good intentions, when both companies and communities want to get it right, 'in a short time, tensions between the two rise and negative attitudes surpass positive ones' ...The book provides clear guidance to company managers on how to get each of these issues 'right' and 'wrong', and proposes what is needed in the many projects where relationships are damaged, to make the transition from getting it wrong to getting it right.
This book should be of immense use to corporate managers and their bankers, consultants, and advisers. It should be read by project directors as well as managers responsible for community relations.
In conclusion, this book is essential reading for company managers and construction contractors working on major projects in developing countries, It should be read by their bankers too. It also throws valuable light on how companies interact with communities, the dilemmas they face, and the opportunities they bring. This should be of interest to other development practitioners. Certainly the three key themes of benefits distribution, behaviours, and side effects are as much relevant to traditional development practitioners as they are to company managers.
Jodi Liss, Energy: The World Affairs Blog Network, 22 February 2010
Getting It Right recommends detailed analysis of the situation by a corporation as far in advance of the project as possible. And it makes a persuasive case for letting the people of the area have input into how problems and issues can be solved. The key to success, Zandvliet and Anderson suggest, is to listen to local people deeply and with an open mind.
It's great advice and should be required reading for many companies working in the developing world, particularly in areas already prone to tensions or unrealistic expectations. Most groups, when hearing something valuable has been discovered in their area, will hope and try to make it work positively for them -- jobs, money, anything. But this rarely happens, leading to disappointment. Several of the successful cases studies tell of corporations going the extra mile to teach locals how to make goods up to company standards, or clearly explaining the requirements of jobs, goods or services the company will need.
There is a limit to what companies can and should be expected to deliver for the local people. It cannot be a proxy for an absent government. ... Still, an oil, gas, or mining company can do a lot to mitigate the impact of their work. And they should read this book to find out where to start.