Advertisement

Squeezing Psychological Freedom in Corporate–Community Engagement

  • Rajiv Maher
Original Paper

Abstract

This article analyses the ethics of how community engagement and dialogue as applied by a mining corporation in Chile led to erosion of the community’s psychological freedom despite being aligned with best practice. This article details how a mining company squeezed the psychological freedom of the community in order to obtain an agreement between the period of 2000 and 2016. The findings focus particularly on a 9-month period between 2015 and 2016 when the company undertook intense community engagement. The article identifies six corporate action phases undertaken which curtailed the community’s psychological freedom as paying off local leaders; challenging via courts of law; co-opting community lawyers; prohibiting a key debate during dialogue; and remaining silent after failing to honour its own self-imposed rule. The findings label the company’s community engagement as contradictory; while it conducted transitional and transformational engagement (in line with best practice) in formal spaces, it also engaged in unethical strategies in the informal spaces of community engagement. The result was overall community consent and an even more fragmented community. This article finds that when it limits the psychological freedom of participants, who are already divided as a group, corporate–community engagement (CCE) can be viewed as ethically problematic. Based on analysis of the literature and an empirical case analysis, this article contributes a test for assessing the ethics of CCE.

Keywords

Community conflict-engagement Co-optation Ethical dialogue 

Notes

Funding

This study was partly funded by Fondecyt - Chilean National fund for scientific and technological development. Project No. 3160824 as well as in part by H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions; Project: 707485.

References

  1. Banerjee, S. B. (2000). Whose land is it anyway? National interest, indigenous stakeholders, and colonial discourses the case of the Jabiluka Uranium Mine. Organization & Environment, 13(1), 3–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Banerjee, S. B. (2017). Transnational power and translocal governance: The politics of corporate responsibility. Human Relations, 0018726717726586Google Scholar
  3. Bebbington, A., Humphreys Bebbington, D., Bury, J., Lingan, J., Muñoz, J. P., & Scurrah, M. (2008). Mining and social movements: Struggles over livelihood and rural territorial development in the Andes. World Development, 36(12), 2888–2905.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional. (2010). Consolidado de solicitudes, aclaraciones, ampliaciones y rectificaciones al Estudio de Impacto Ambiental del “Proyecto Integral de Desarrollo” de Minera Los Pelambres. RRNN_AAL_E_PS_20100817_RT_PM_RB_EG_FG_MSL_Informe. Accessed 13 July 2017.Google Scholar
  5. Boutilier, R. G., & Thomson, I. (2011). Modelling and measuring the social license to operate: Fruits of a dialogue between theory and practice. Social Licence. https://socialicense.com/publications/Modelling%20and%20Measuring%20the%20SLO.pdf. Accessed 30 June 2017.
  6. Bowen, F., Newenham-Kahindi, A., & Herremans, I. (2010). When suits meet roots: The antecedents and consequences of community engagement strategy. Journal of Business Ethics, 95(2), 297–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bryman, A. (2015). Social research methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Buber, M. (1965). The knowledge of man: Selected essays. New York: Humanity BooksGoogle Scholar
  9. Calvano, L. (2008). Multinational corporations and local communities: A critical analysis of conflict. Journal of Business Ethics, 82(4), 793–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Colegio Médico. (2018). http://www.colegiomedico.cl/?page_id=368. Accessed 10 Aug 2017.
  11. Coleman, L. M. (2013). The making of docile dissent: Neoliberalization and resistance in Colombia and beyond. International Political Sociology, 7(2), 170–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Collins, D. (2009). The failure of a socially responsive gold mining MNC in El Salvador: Ramifications of NGO mistrust. Journal of Business Ethics, 88, 245–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Consejo Minero. (2018). Encuesta Consejo Minero: Licencia social supera a los temas agua y energía. http://dev.consejominero.cl/encuesta-consejo-minero-licencia-social-supera-a-los-temas-agua-y-energia/. Accessed 20 Mar 2018.
  14. Ehrnström-Fuentes, M. (2016). Delinking legitimacies: A pluriversal perspective on political CSR. Journal of Management Studies, 53(3), 433–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas). (2016). Retrieved March 19, from http://www.ejatlas.org.
  16. Escobar, A. (2006). Difference and conflict in the struggle over natural resources: A political ecology framework. Development, 49(3), 6–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). Five misunderstandings about case-study research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2), 219–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Franks, D. M., Davis, R., Bebbington, A. J., Ali, S. H., Kemp, D., & Scurrah, M. (2014). Conflict translates environmental and social risk into business costs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(21), 7576–7581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fujimoto, Y., Azmat, F., & Subramaniam, N. (2016). Creating community-inclusive organizations: Managerial accountability framework. Business & Society.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0007650316680060.Google Scholar
  20. Greenwood, M. (2007). Stakeholder engagement: Beyond the myth of corporate responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 74(4), 315–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Greenwood, M., & Van Buren III, H. J. (2010). Trust and stakeholder theory: Trustworthiness in the organisation–stakeholder relationship. Journal of Business Ethics, 95(3), 425–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Herbertson, K., Ballesteros, A. R., Goodland, R., & Munilla, I. (2009). Breaking ground: Engaging communities in extractive and infrastructure projects (p. 3). World Resources Institute.Google Scholar
  23. Herman, E. S., & Chomsky, N. (2010). Manufacturing consent: The political economy of the mass media. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  24. Horowitz, L. S. (2015). Culturally articulated neoliberalisation: Corporate social responsibility and the capture of indigenous legitimacy in New Caledonia. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 40(1), 88–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ICMM. (2015). Good practice guide indigenous peoples and mining. London.Google Scholar
  26. Imbun, B. (2007). Cannot manage without the ‘significant other’: Mining, corporate social responsibility and local communities in Papua New Guinea. Journal of Business Ethics, 73, 177–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Interamerican Development Bank. (2017). Meaningful stakeholder engagement, IDB series on environmental and social risk and opportunity. https://publications.iadb.org/bitstream/handle/11319/8454/Meaningful-Stakeholder-Consultation.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.
  28. International Finance Corporation. (2007). Stakeholder engagement: A good practice handbook for companies doing business in emerging markets. http://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/topics_ext_content/ifc_external_corporate_site/sustainability-at-ifc/publications/publications_handbook_stakeholderengagement__wci__1319577185063.
  29. Jenkins, H. (2004). Corporate social responsibility and the mining industry: Conflicts and constructs. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 11, 23–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jenkins, H., & Yakovleva, N. (2006). Corporate social responsibility in the mining industry: Exploring trends in social and environmental disclosure. Journal of Cleaner Production, 14(3), 271–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Johannesen, R. L. (1971). The emerging concept of communication as dialogue. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 57(4), 373–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kapelus, P. (2002). Mining, corporate social responsibility and the “community”: The case of Rio Tinto, Richards Bay minerals and the Mbonambi. Journal of Business Ethics, 39(3), 275–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Keller, P. W., & Brown, C. T. (1968). An interpersonal ethic for communication. Journal of Communication, 18(1), 73–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kemp, D., Owen, J. R., Gotzmann, N., & Bond, C. J. (2011). Just relations and company–community conflict in mining. Journal of Business Ethics, 101(1), 93–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kraemer, R., Whiteman, G., & Banerjee, B. (2013). Conflict and astroturfing in Niyamgiri: The importance of national advocacy networks in anti-corporate social movements. Organization Studies, 34(5–6), 823–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Li, F. (2016). Defense of water: Modern mining, grassroots movements, and corporate strategies in Peru. The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 21, 109129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Martens, W., van der Linden, B., & Wörsdörfer, M. (2017). How to assess the democratic qualities of a multi-stakeholder initiative from a Habermasian perspective? Deliberative democracy and the equator principles framework. Journal of Business Ethics.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3532-4.Google Scholar
  38. Mena, S., de Leede, M., Baumann, D., Black, N., Lindeman, S., & McShane, L. (2010). Advancing the business and human rights agenda: Dialogue, empowerment, and constructive engagement. Journal of Business Ethics, 93(1), 161–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Murphree, D. W., Wright, S. A., & Ebaugh, H. R. (1996). Toxic waste siting and community resistance: How cooptation of local citizen opposition failed. Sociological Perspectives, 39(4), 447–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Murphy, M., & Vives, J. (2013). Perceptions of justice and the human rights protect, respect, and remedy framework. Journal of Business Ethics, 116(4), 781–797.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Muthuri, J. N., Moon, J., & Idemudia, U. (2012). Corporate innovation and sustainable community development in developing countries. Business & Society, 51(3), 355–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Newenham-Kahindi, A. M. (2011). A global mining corporation and local communities in the Lake Victoria zone: The case of Barrick Gold multinational in Tanzania. Journal of Business Ethics, 99(2), 253–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. O’Faircheallaigh, C. (2013). Community development agreements in the mining industry: An emerging global phenomenon. Community Development, 44(2), 222–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. O’Faircheallaigh, C. (2015). Social equity and large mining projects: Voluntary industry initiatives, public regulation and community development agreements. Journal of Business Ethics, 132(1), 91–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. OLCA. (2004). Cronología del Conflicto. http://www.olca.cl/oca/chile/region04/mlp/olca_mlp/informes/informes_pdf/informe_II.pdf. Accessed 10 July 2017.
  46. Passetti, E., Bianchi, L., Battaglia, M., & Frey, M. (2017). When Democratic Principles are not Enough: Tensions and Temporalities of Dialogic Stakeholder Engagement. Journal of Business Ethics.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3500-z.Google Scholar
  47. Prno, J., & Slocombe, D. S. (2012). Exploring the origins of ‘social license to operate’ in the mining sector: Perspectives from governance and sustainability theories. Resources Policy, 37(3), 346–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Reed, D. (2002). Resource extraction industries in developing countries. Journal of Business Ethics, 39(3), 199–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (2nd edn.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Stückelberger, C. (2009). Dialogue ethics: Ethical criteria and conditions for a successful dialogue between companies and societal actors. Journal of Business Ethics, 84(3), 329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Szablowski, D. (2002). Mining, displacement and the World Bank: A case analysis of compania minera antamina’s operations in Peru. Journal of Business Ethics, 39(3), 247–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Urkidi, L., & Walter, M. (2011). Dimensions of environmental justice in anti-gold mining movements in Latin America. Geoforum, 42(6), 683–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Van Buren III, H. J. (2001). Corporate citizenship and obligations of fairness. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 1(3), 55–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wheeler, D., Fabig, H., & Boele, R. (2002). Paradoxes and dilemmas for stakeholder responsive firms in the extractive sector: Lessons from the case of Shell and the Ogoni. Journal of Business Ethics, 39(3), 297–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. World Bank. (2016). World bank extractives sector overview. Retrieved March 20, 2016 from http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/extractiveindustries/overview#1.
  56. Zandvliet, L., & Anderson, M. (2009). Getting it right: Making corporate–community relations work. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GeographyTrinity College DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.Université Paris DauphineParisFrance

Personalised recommendations