Posts

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].

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]

 

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]

Beijing Universities – Technological Innovation and the Public

I will be giving research presentations at Renmin University (School of Public Administration and Policy) and Beijing Forestry University (School of Humanities and Social Sciences) on November 3, 2017

Technological Innovation and the Public: 3Ps – Purpose, Process, and Products

Technological innovations are fundamentally transforming all aspects of our society. I am particularly concerned with how technological innovations impact 1) the design of our public institutions, 2) the apparatuses through which we shape, implement, and evaluate public policies, and 3) our governance frameworks for public goods. I believe that research needs to be conducted in a manner that advances the greater public good, especially in fields that are of an applied nature. Academia has a special responsibility to generate knowledge that advances society. Studying complex phenomena requires us to undertake research that 1) draws on multiple disciplines, 2) engages a diverse group of stakeholders, 3) appreciates a plurality of research approaches, and 4) generates actionable solutions. Executing inter-disciplinary research is no easy feat to accomplish. Researchers face daunting challenges from the onset; beginning with the inception of ideas, continuing to the crafting of problem statements, executing the research process, and then communicating the results via publications in academic and practitioner outlets. However, these challenges should not be viewed as an excuse to abandon inter-disciplinary research in favor of narrowly focused research exercises. Drawing on over a dozen research projects, this presentation will highlight key strategic management challenges confronting public agencies as they try to keep up with the rapid pace of technological innovations. Opportunities for use-inspired research will be discussed. In addition, I will present a working model for executing inter-disciplinary research that has served me well. I will openly share some of the trials and tribulations that I have encountered along the way.

2017 Global Cities Forum, China Institute for Urban Governance, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

I am looking forward to my upcoming trip to Shanghai. I will deliver a keynote address at the 2017 Global Cities Forum hosted by the China Institute for Urban Governance at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The Smart City Bandwagon: Have We Lost our Way?

Cities around the world are investing significant resources to transform themselves into smarter (more intelligent) entities. While there is no doubt that these efforts are important and valuable, I am troubled with how these efforts have evolved. Too often, I see efforts that focus predominantly on the technical and data elements of the equation, without much care to how they impact the social, economic, and civic elements. Drawing on my recent research, I will argue that we need to reframe the dominant conversation on smart cities. Cities across the globe have become more fragile over the last few years. Infrastructure, economic, social, political, and civic elements impact the level of fragility in a city. We need to focus our conversation on how we can use technology for social good to address issues such as a preserving and strengthening the social compact, implementing technical solutions responsibly, and designing governance frameworks that account for a diversity of interests, aspirations, and values. I will outline design practices to reflect upon as we work toward making our communities more livable, just, sustainable, and resilient. As John Christopher Jones reminds us ” design everything on the assumption that people are not heartless or stupid but marvelously capable, given the chance.