Corporate-community partnerships: making CSR mutually beneficial for business and community development in the Dominican republic
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This study explores the role of a corporate-community partnership in making Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) a mechanism that creates shared value for both business and society. The investigation seeks to generate knowledge about how a partnership can ensure “business benefits” in terms of satisfied CSR objectives for a company, as well as beneficial outcomes in terms of development in the host-communities. The concept of CSR has caused businesses world wide to pay increased attention to social and environmental performance. For those companies operating in developing countries, these responsibilities are frequently defined in terms of contributions to sustainable development (WBCSD, 2009). While the corporate rationale and objectives for CSR have been firmly identified by previous research, there are more uncertainties regarding CSR’s outcomes and consequences for the beneficiaries of CSR initiatives in the host-society (Muthuri, 2008; Blowfield, 2007). Some companies have therefore chosen to engage in partnerships in order to contextually tailor their CSR interventions, improve corporate-community dialogue, and ensure an appropriate response to local expectations about a company’s social and environmental responsibilities (Davy, 2001; Idemudia, 2007). The empirical investigation is based on a case study of Xstrata’s CSR strategy and the partnership that has been established between Xstrata Nickel Falcondo, the Falcondo Foundation and the local communities in the provinces of Monseñor Nouel and La Vega in the Dominican Republic. The corporate-community partnership has ensured gains for all actors involved. An improved corporate-community relationship, enhanced legitimacy of the company’s actions, and business opportunities are major benefits of the partnership for Xstrata. Simultaneously, hostcommunities have obtained a channel of dialogue through which they can voice their concerns, and they participate actively in development projects that are driven by the wishes and challenges identified by the community-members themselves. Villagers now live under improved socio-economic conditions, have acquired skills and capacities through collective work with their fellow community-members, and social relationships have been strengthened; a solid base for community empowerment and development. The partnership’s ability to bridge demands for immediate results with a long-term perspective of the development process, target structural impediments to community development, and maintain an equilibrium of corporate and community power and interests, have been critical factors in turning CSR into a mechanism that benefits both Xstrata and the host-communities. The study thus demonstrates that the partnership’s recognition of the interdependency of business and society for the growth of both, has led to a synergetic effect where mutual advantages are obtained.
Masteroppgave i development management- Universitetet i Agder 2009