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When Suits Meet Roots: Best Practices in Community Engagement

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1 When Suits Meet Roots: Best Practices in Community Engagement
Dr. Frances Bowen International Institute for Resource Industries and Sustainability Studies (IRIS) Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary

2 A note to Web Viewers This presentation is designed to accompany the other outputs of the “Engaging with Community” Knowledge Project commissioned by the Research Network for Business Sustainability (RNBS). It is intended to be useful both for university teachers and managers thinking about community engagement. Some of these slides contain “Notes Pages” which explain the slide content in more detail. You may wish to print off the notes pages first, and then view the slides in “slideshow” view to see the most sensible sequence of material. Further details can be found in the accompanying academic literature review and in the executive briefing on the RNBS’ website:

3 Presentation Outline What is Community Engagement?
“Engagement” and “Community” How have some firms gained from engagement? The Continuum of Community Engagement Identifying Best Practice in Community Engagement From Academia: ABC Analysis From Practice: 9 Best Practice Principle Steps Best Practices in Benchmarking and Measurement Useful Resources

4 What Does your Community Look Like?
These pictures are (starting from top, centre and moving clockwise…): A group of young people participating in an employability training scheme by Scottish Power Aboriginal peoples in Australia The Raging Grannies protesting outside an army recruitment office A community meeting A school in Mexico Local community housed next to an industrial facility

5 What is Community? Community is: “a body of individuals”
Oxford English Dictionary Individuals can be linked by one or more of: Geography: people residing in the same geographic location Interaction: people who regularly interact with each other Identity: people who share a set of beliefs, values or experiences Community can consist of individuals or of groups organized to represent the interests of a set of individuals

6 What is Engagement? Engagement / n. 1. the act or state of promising to marry. Engagement / n. 4. an encounter between hostile forces.

7 The Gains from Engagement
These case stories are designed to illustrate different types of engagement, and the gains to both firms and communities: EnCana ( provided Imagine Canada ( ) with a financial grant to undertake an investigation of corporate philanthropy in Canada. EnCana gained legitimacy and goodwill; Imagine Canada gained financial resources; the social outcome was improved understanding of philanthropy in Canada. Another example of philanthropy, but this time connected with the strategic content of the industry: The Aluminum Association’s “Cans for Habitat” scheme which encourages Habitat for Humanity local affiliates to recycle used beverage cans by providing dollar-for-dollar matching grants based on the value of cans recycled ( ). Supporting recycling is aligned with the aluminum industry’s strategic objectives, and maintains public support for aluminum packaging. Example of non-financial philanthropy: Scottish Power’s “School to Work Programme” which equips low academic achievers of high school age an opportunity to assess their own employability and to gain skills that will be useful to them in the future ( ) Example of community consultation: Further details on “building bridges” between the Hupacasath First Nation ( ) and Polaris Minerals Corporation ( ) can be found in the CBSR publication “Building Sustainable Relationships” (case study # 3) ( ) Example of a transformational relationship between two strategic partners: Shell ( ) and Living Earth ( ). A two-page case study can be found at:

8 Our Knowledge Synthesis
Aim: map and assess existing intellectual territory on community engagement Explanatory synthesis of the literature Based on over 200 knowledge sources Included academic and practitioner sources (cases, websites, best practice handbooks etc.) Thorough process of finding, evaluating, coding and compiling the sources…

9 Filtering Knowledge Sources
Practitioner literature citation search2 n=65 Academic literature citation search1 n=586 Screen for relevance3 Rejected citations4 n=445 Included citations n=206 Content coding5 Searched the academic literature databases ABI Inform, Academic Search Premier and Business Source Premier using the following keywords (and variants): community groups; NGOs; stakeholders; community engagement; domain-based governance; cross-sector partnership; social partnership; inter-sectoral partnership; collaborative governance; sustainable HR management; cross-sector management; sustainable communities; community embeddedness; community enterprise; citizen engagement; social capital; community investment; community involvement. (a) searched for teaching cases in the European Case Clearing House database using the same keywords as for the academic literature (includes Harvard, Ivey, IMD, ICFAI, Case Research Journal etc. teaching cases); (b) identified sources found through attendance at practitioner-targeted events, September 2007-March 2008; (c) hand searched the top 50 Google hits on “community engagement” for relevant reports; (d) included other literature recommended to the research team. Our criterion for inclusion was: “Citation apparently contains insights on one or more of our project’s research questions on community engagement” The 445 rejected citations consisted of citations matching the keywords and criteria used in our literature searches, but were not directly related with community engagement. Examples include literature on: general partnerships and inter-organizational relationships; virtue ethics and/or moral philosophy theory; sources addressing primary stakeholders only (employees and/or customers); general corporate social responsibility (CSR); stakeholders as drivers or pressures predicting another dependent variable (e.g. environmental performance); NGO governance models; employee engagement; and stakeholder capitalism. We coded the 206 included sources for content. Content coding was conducted by one evaluator based on the full source (i.e. paper, report, chapter, case etc.). Strategic perspective n=97 HR perspective n=40 Public policy perspective n=54 Performance perspective n=35

10 Where to Find Best Practice?

11 The Continuum of Community Engagement
GOVERNMENT (Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand) Information provision One-off consultation Collaborative processes Community decision making GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES TRAINING ORGANIZATION (International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)) Inform Consult Involve Collaborate Empower FACILITATOR TRAINING VOLUNTARY SECTOR (The Rowntree Foundation, 1994) Information Consultation Deciding together Acting together Supporting THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR COMMUNITY STANCE (Hashagan (2002) Passive Reactive Participative Empowerment Leadership COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATE (Altria Inc) Monitor Push communications Educate Lobby Engage Collaborate CORPORATE TOOL-KITS The continuum of community engagement can be seen in a wide variety of literatures. All of the sources above (and many others) showed an increasing level of involvement with community as the engagement approach moves from left to right. NON-PROFIT CORPORATE ALLIANCES (Rondinelli & London, 2003) Arm’s length Interactive collaborations Intensive alliances CORPORATE-NGO ALLIANCES Increasing community engagement

12 The Continuum of Community Engagement
GOVERNMENT (Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand) Information provision One-off consultation Collaborative processes Community decision making GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES TRAINING ORGANIZATION (International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)) Inform Consult Involve Collaborate Empower FACILITATOR TRAINING VOLUNTARY SECTOR (The Rowntree Foundation, 1994) Information Consultation Deciding together Acting together Supporting TRANSACTIONAL ENGAGEMENT TRANSITIONAL ENGAGEMENT THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR TRANSFORMATIONAL ENGAGEMENT COMMUNITY STANCE (Hashagan (2002) Passive Reactive Participative Empowerment Leadership COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATE (Altria Inc) Monitor Push communications Educate Lobby Engage Collaborate CORPORATE TOOL-KITS We organized the literature into three main types of engagement: transactional : arms’ length transfers of cash, staff time, knowledge and skills from the firm to the community (e.g. philanthropic donations, capacity building) transitional : two-way communication and dialogue with community members. transformational : fully shared resources and control of the engagement processes. NON-PROFIT CORPORATE ALLIANCES (Rondinelli & London, 2003) Arm’s length Interactive collaborations Intensive alliances CORPORATE-NGO ALLIANCES Increasing community engagement

13 Three Types of Community Engagement
Dimension Transactional Engagement Transitional Transformational Corporate stance “Giving Back” Community Investment “Building Bridges” Community Involvement “Changing Society” Community Integration Communication One-way Two-way Number of community partners Many Few Frequency of interaction Occasional Repeated Frequent Nature of trust Limited Evolutionary Relational Learning Transferred from firm Transferred to firm Jointly generated Control over process Firm Shared Benefits and outcomes Distinct Joint

14 What the Academic Knowledge Says: The ABCs of Community Engagement
ANTECEDENTS BEHAVIOURS CONSEQUENCES MANAGERIAL PERCEPTIONS TRANSITIONAL ENGAGEMENT TRANSACTIONAL TRANSFORMATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXT COMMUNITY CONTEXT BENEFITS TO COMMUNITIES BENEFITS TO THE FIRM Institutional Context: includes regulations, public policy, structure of social and political organization within a given country Organizational Context: includes fit with the firm’s strategic position, identity, resources, capabilities, organizational structure and budgeting and strategic planning processes. Also, firm performance, age and size. Community Context: community readiness to participate, structure of community groups and interactions between them, host community expectations and resources. Also, the nature of the social issue being addressed. Managerial perceptions: these include the filters of “hot” emotional and “cold” cognitive managerial interpretations. Managerial intuition and values can make some managers connect emotionally with engagement. The extent to which managerial perceptions moderate the other contextual factors depends on the extent to which managers have discretion to act on engagement issues. Note: only transformational engagement can lead to joint benefits to firms and communities. JOINT BENEFITS TO FIRMS AND COMMUNITIES

15 Key Findings from the Academic Review
While there are a very large number of suggestions as to what organizations should do, there is very little empirical evidence of what works and when Most studied form of engagement is transactional, followed by transitional and then transformational Payoff from engagement is usually long term, from improved legitimacy Firms that breed trust-based co-operative ties with communities may gain a competitive advantage over those that do not because they are more difficult to copy Best practice in community engagement involves fit between the engagement context and processes

16 What the Practitioner Knowledge Says: Best Practice Principles
Government Guidelines “Leading Practice Principles of Community Engagement”, New South Wales Government, Australia “National Standards for Community Engagement”, Minister for Communities, The Scottish Executive, UK Industry Associations “Principles for Stakeholder Engagement”, Business for Social Responsibility, San Francisco, Ca, USA “Community Impact Core Principles”, Business in the Community, London, UK Quasi-Non-Governmental Organization “Good Practice Principles for Stakeholder Engagement”, International Finance Corporation, Washington, DC, USA In order to identify best practice principles for community engagement, we conducted a synthesis of five of the most accessible lists of best practices (listed in slide). We began by listing all of the principles, tips, and best practices mentioned in each of these sources. We then mapped them across the different sources, noting which best practices were duplicated in more than one source. Of the 65 different best practice principles contained in these five documents, 17 best practices were mentioned by more than three of the sources. We organized these 17 core best practice principles by engagement process stage, and clustered them into the 9 steps for successful community engagement drawn in the next slide.

17 9 Best Practice Principles
1. SET GOALS 2. IDENTIFY PARTICIPANTS AND ISSUES 3. ALLOCATE AND LEVERAGE RESOURCES PRE-ENGAGEMENT PLANNING 5. SET RULES, BE OPEN AND SHARE KNOWLEDGE 4. SELECT INCLUSIVE TECHNIQUES 6. RECORD, MONITOR AND SEEK FEEDBACK ENGAGEMENT PROCESS 8. SHARE WITH STAFF 9. SHARE WITH PEERS POST-ENGAGEMENT LEARNING 7. SHARE WITH STAKEHOLDERS Set Goals: Understand the purpose of the engagement and align the desired outcomes with firm strategy Identify participants and issues: Identify and prioritize who to engage with. Understand community concerns and identify pressing issues for both the firm and community participants Allocate and leverage resources: Allocate sufficient time, resources, skills and staff capacity to undertake the engagement. Work with other firms who may have already “engaged” with a given community to avoid duplication. Select inclusive techniques: Use “fit for purpose” engagement techniques. Aim to be inclusive and to achieve mutual benefit, although this may not always be possible. Set rules..: Communicate the purpose and boundaries of the engagement early. Communicate candidly, effectively, openly and honestly. Share evidence-based knowledge and information. Feedback: Record and document the process. Provide and encourage feedback. Monitor and evaluate the process in real time. Share with stakeholders: Report the outcomes of the engagement both to stakeholders who participated and those which did not. Share with staff: Report to own organization on the process followed (for learning), and on the outcomes (to increase staff engagement). Share with peers: Tell other firms about engagement successes and failures. Further details and toolkits can be found in any of the Best Practice Principles sources on the previous slides. See our “Best Picks” below for the most useful sources.

18 Best Practice in Benchmarking and Measurement
Evaluation tools should consist of a balanced mix of quantitative and qualitative indicators capturing the inputs, outputs and outcomes of engagement. Inputs are the resources used during the engagement, whether donations, staff time or other corporate investments. Outputs measure the efficiency or the volume of activity, regardless of the quality of the result (e.g. number of people trained; number of schools visited). Outcomes move beyond outputs to measure the effectiveness or the quality of the engagement, including the ultimate social impact. The slide shows an example of Best Practice in measurement. This is the often cited framework from the London Benchmarking Group (2004). This group of over 100 companies has gathered together to improve the measurement and benchmarking of corporate community involvement. Central to the approach is gathering evidence on the inputs (cash, time, in-kind) and outputs (leverage, community benefits, business benefits) of community involvement, and assessing the overall social and economic outcomes.

19 An Example: KMPG and LBG’s Method
KPMG’s Ready for Work Programme The main aim of this programme is to get ex-homeless people back into full time, sustainable employment in partnership with Barclays, Marks & Spencer and Marsh. All figures unless stated are a proportion of the overall total, reflecting the KPMG contribution. Example is taken from: “Measure for Measure: Celebrating the LGB’s first tem years”, London Benchmarking Group at:

20 Our Top Picks Top Pick for on Best Practice Principles for Community Engagement “Leading Practice Principles” in “Community Engagement in the NSW Planning System”, New South Wales Government, Australia, Top Pick for Tips for Successful Engagement Technique Implementation “Public Participation Toolbox”, International Associate for Public Participation (IAP2), Top Pick for Measuring Community Engagement The London Benchmarking Group Input/Output Matrix, Top Pick for Benchmarking Philanthropic Donations in Canada “Business Contributions to Canadian Communities”, Imagine Canada,

21 Conclusions Identifying “communities” is a vital but tricky first step
Managers face key choices on how involved their firm’s approach will be (the community engagement continuum): Transactional aka “giving back” Transitional aka “building bridges” Transformational aka “changing society” The Best Practice tools and ideas: From academia: ABC Analysis From practice: 9 Best Practice Principles Measurement and Benchmarking Our Top Picks for Best Practice resources

22 Thank You! Leadership Council of the Research Network for Business Sustainability Dr. Aloyisus Newenham-Kahindi Dr. Irene Herremans Calgary Chamber of Commerce Check for updates on our Knowledge Project and resources at:

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