How Much is Not Enough: Corporate Social Responsibility and Beyond in the Resources Sector

New paper co-authored with Caroline Veldhuizen, Wasana Bandara, and Artemis Chang has been published in Resources Policy.

Highlights

  • CSR practices are comprised of stakeholder engagement and operational activities.
  • A holistic framework based upon extant literature enhances analysis of CSR practices.
  • Pursuit of social licence to operate has impacts at both surface and deeper levels.
  • The appearance of a lot of CSR activity is often ‘not enough’.
  • Reflection and learning are crucial to improve responses to diverse stakeholders.

To access the paper, please click here [LINK]

Abstract

The resources sector is increasingly being called upon to show greater commitment to resolving environmental and social problems prevalent in the regions where they operate. Appeals for greater responsibility, accountability and transparency are getting louder. Consequently, enterprises’ responses to these demands have been the subject of discussion and debate for decades. Theoretical and empirical knowledge regarding these issues has been generated by numerous case studies and evaluations of different approaches to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Critiques of approaches adopted by companies to obtain social license to operate are also plentiful. However, the existing discourse is scattered. It lacks a coherent frame of reference for considering the ways that corporations respond to diverse stakeholder demands and the consequences for value creation. This paper addresses this gap by integrating key insights drawn from the extant literature to develop a novel conceptual framework. It provides a unique perspective on the ways that companies create social, environmental, and economic value for diverse groups of stakeholders, and how this may be improved. This theoretical contribution is accompanied by the creation of a sense-making device that facilitates reflection, learning and the development of strategy. The device can be used by organizations to enhance their capacity to respond to diverse stakeholder groups in ways that bestow real, enduring benefits.

 

Organizational robustness: A conceptual framework

New paper co-authored with Yancong Xie and Mohammad Jabbari published in Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management.

On organizational robustness: A conceptual framework

Understanding robustness and how organizations can configure and adapt is fundamental for their survival. In this paper, we build on the general system theory to conceptualize the underlying mechanisms of organizational robustness. We propose a framework that defines the fundamental notions and typologies of robustness— instrumental, structural, and cognitive robustness. We define mechanisms for these three categories of robustness as strategical mechanisms, functional mechanisms, and infrastructure mechanisms, and we explain how these mechanisms enable proactive, structured, or agile organizational responses to predictable and unpredictable crises.

To access the article [LINK]

Mitigating Urban Heat

New paper co-authored with Matthias Tuczek, Kenan Degirmenci, Richard T. Watson, TanYigitcanlar, and Michael H. Breitner published in Urban Climate.

Mitigating urban heat with optimal distribution of vegetation and buildings

The impact of climate change on cities poses a growing global threat, which is exacerbated by the urban heat island (UHI) effect. The optimal distribution of vegetation and buildings in urban areas is critical to control the UHI effect and stabilize long-term temperature changes. In this article, we develop an optimization model to maximize revenue while limiting UHI intensity under several restrictions. We run simulations in two urban areas in Brisbane, Australia to test the model’s theoretical predictions. Our results show that a revenue increase by AUD 4.32 billion in Brisbane City and by AUD 1.19 billion in Hamilton involves an increase of the maximum temperature difference between the developed and undeveloped sites from 4 to 5° C through an increase of buildings and thus a decrease of porosity and an increase of population density.

To access the paper [LINK].

Digital Transformation in the Resource and Energy Sectors

New paper co-authored with Parisa Maroufkhani, Robert K.Perrons, and Mohammad Iranmanesh published in Resources Policy.

The forces of digital transformation have delivered significant benefits like sustainable development and economic growth in a range of early adopter industries such as retail and manufacturing but, despite these potential benefits, the resource and energy sectors have been relative latecomers to digitalization simply because they are frequently slower to absorb new technologies. Here we present the results of a systematic literature review identifying the ways in which digital technologies have been applied in the oil and gas, mining, and energy domains. We applied content and descriptive analysis to evaluate and discuss 151 academic articles selected from the Scopus database. Two particularly interesting trends emerge from the analysis. First, over 75% of the papers were about the energy sector excluding the oil & gas industry, and only a small minority were from the mining or oil & gas sectors. Second, the most frequently discussed objective of digital transformation was the reduction of operational expenses. By surveying the different ways in which these innovations have been used in these industries and identifying trends and patterns in how digital technologies have been applied, the findings of this review deepen our understanding of the current state of digital technologies within the resource and energy sectors and, in so doing, shine a useful amount of light on the contributions that digital transformation has made to businesses in these sectors. This paper also highlights for future scholars, practitioners, and policymakers the six research areas that they should focus on in the future to help the resource and energy sectors accelerate the digital transformation process and improve their ability to deliver value with these innovations.

To access the article, please click [LINK]

Interagency Collaboration within the City Emergency Management Network

New paper co-authored with Bo Fan and Zhoupeng Li published in Disasters.

Interagency collaboration within the city emergency management network: a case study of Super Ministry Reform in China

Emergencies continue to become ever more complex; responding to them, therefore, often is beyond the capabilities and capacities of any single public agency. Hence, collaboration among these actors is necessary to prepare for, respond to, and recover from such events. This seldom occurs in an effective or efficient manner, however. Drawing on resource dependence theory and the concept of social capital, this paper reveals that different types of collaborative relationships exist within the collaborative network. Super Ministry Reform of Emergency Management in China serves as a case in point. By evaluating network efficiency and classifying the collaborative relationships of involved government agencies, four types are identified: resource-redundant; resource-complementary; resource-dependent; and resource-isolated. The different influences of collaborative relationships explain why the reform is not that effective, although it has led to the merger of several core departments in the emergency management network. The findings are a reminder to consider network structure and collaboration types when engaging in institutional design.

To access the article: [LINK]
To access a full-text, read-only version of the article: [LINK]

 

Surfacing and Responding to Paradoxical Tensions in Megascale Projects

New paper co-authored with Anna Wiewiora published in International Journal of Project Management.

Surfacing and Responding Paradoxes in Megascale Projects

Megaprojects can deliver significant social and economic benefits. However, megaprojects are challenging to manage. They involve multiple stakeholders across various sectors and deliver novel and complex solutions that often require decision makers to deal with persisting tensions to balance conflicting demands. Hence, it is critical to pay attention to paradoxical tensions – contradictory and interrelated elements of the project that persist over time. Employing a systematic literature review, we elicit and catalogue seven categories of paradoxical tensions in megaprojects and outline approaches to manage these tensions discussed in the existing literature. We then propose a future research agenda for studying paradoxical tensions in megaprojects.

To access the article, please click this [LINK]

Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector: A Maturity Model

The IBM Center for the Business of Government released my new report today.

Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector: A Maturity Model

The technology is revolutionizing the way we derive value and insights from data in order to improve our daily lives. In addition, governments gather a treasure trove of pertinent data that can be used to execute important missions and improve services to the citizen. An effective AI program can greatly enhance the ability of the public sector to deliver on that promise.

The challenge has always been to design and implement an AI program that has all the critical elements in place to successfully achieve the goal of improved mission delivery and citizen services. An initial report commissioned by the IBM Center for The Business of Government, Delivering Artificial Intelligence in Government: Challenges and Opportunities, proposed an initial maturity model that gave public agencies a starting point for developing an AI capability. Subsequently, we have had the opportunity to fine tune the model, based on extensive research on how the public sector was deploying AI, documenting successful use cases and highlighting pitfalls and lessons learned.

The revised maturity model was shared with experienced public sector practitioners and feedback from these discussions led to a further revision. The revised model was then shared with a final group of reviewers that included public sector executives (both within and beyond the information systems domain), academics, and consultants.

We hope that this report provides public sector leaders a view into the “art of the possible” by emphasizing how AI programs can accelerate the transformation of government programs to better serve the public and by providing them a framework for establishing a successful AI program. We will continue to explore this topic and will provide further updates as the use of AI in the public sector continues to evolve.

To access the report, please click [Report]

A blog post on the report by Margie Graves (Visiting Fellow, IBM Center for the Business of Government, former Deputy Federal CIO for the Office of Management and Budget) is available here: [Post]