Project Lead:Website: http://www.ryerson.ca/csrinstitute/current_projects/CSR_Case_Study_Pilot.html
Dr. Kernaghan Webb, LL.B., LL.M., LL.D.
Ryerson University Institute for the Study of Social Responsibility and
Associate Professor, Business Law
School of Business Management
Ted Rogers School of Management
As a Canadian Business Ethics Research Network (CBERN) co-investigator, Dr. Kernaghan Webb is initiating a pilot project for the development and dissemination of Internet-based collaborative multi-perspective business ethics case studies.
This project seeks to conduct corporate social responsibility (CSR) case study research on the activities of Canadian mining companies in three developing countries, focusing on the social and environmental challenges they encounter. The process by which this research is to be conducted is through international collaboration with partners from these developing countries, employing an innovative multi perspective approach to case study development and analysis that allows for the incorporation of a wide range of views concerning the CSR activities of Canadian mining companies in developing countries. Canada has a significant mining presence in developing countries, and the role and responsibilities of Canadian mining companies has become a major concern of the Canadian government and interested stakeholders, both in Canada and in the affected developing countries.
The extractive sector is very important to the economies of many developing countries, yet the impact of mining companies in developing countries is the focus of contentious debates. Research on the impact of mining companies that draws on the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders in developing countries will contribute to this important debate. Ultimately, the proposed case studies are expected to contribute to policy-relevant observations on how (or whether) mining companies can contribute to sustainable development at the local community and national levels.
A core aim of this project is to draw on the expertise of developing country partners, in order to learn from their experiences and knowledge of effects stemming from Canadian mining companies operating in developing countries. The project seeks to establish networks between Canada and partners in developing countries concerned with the extractive sector, and to foster sustainable networks among interested parties within developing countries.
Currently, there is a paucity of publicly available, balanced, accurate and credible case studies exploring how Canadian companies are addressing social and environmental ethical challenges they face. Many case studies suffer from a credibility problem, as they are seen to be biased in favour of one particular perspective. The advantage of this collaborative research is that it incorporates a multi perspective approach, thereby allowing multiple voices to be heard. The shortage of balanced and credible case studies is particularly a problem when describing the challenges and interactions of Canadian companies operating in developing countries, in part because of difficulties associated with ensuring the meaningful participation of affected developing country voices, actors, and perspectives. In conventional case studies, there is limited opportunity for constructive dialogue, participative learning in the process of case study development, and for more broad acceptance and dissemination of the results to all interested parties. Multi-perspective, collaborative case studies addressing the mining sector could potentially be particularly useful, as this is an area of activity where there has been considerable conflict and disagreement about “what is happening and why is it happening?” The teams will develop case study content using a web-based program based on a modified ‘wiki’ digital commons model, where participants can review and comment on draft versions of the case studies.
This initiative is modeled in large part on the 2006 "Canadian National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility in the Extractive Industries Sector" process, where persons with significantly divergent views were able to express those views within a neutral, structured dialogue process that facilitated the ultimate development of consensus-based policy proposals. It should be emphasized that this is an experimental, pilot project, designed to test the viability and value of the collaborative, multi perspective approach. Although the pilot phase of this project will focus on mining companies, it is anticipated that this approach would be relevant for other CSR contexts, such as the apparel sector, toy manufacturing sector, or the food and drug manufacturing sector in both developed and developing countries.
For further information, please contact Dr. Kernaghan Webb at: firstname.lastname@example.org