Getting it Right – Making Corporate-Community Relations Work – 2009

Author: L Zandvliet & M B Andeson
Publisher: Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield UK
Pages: 229 HDBK
ISBN: 13:9781906093198

This is a book that all new managers (and perhaps seasoned ones too…) venturing for the first time into overseas divisions of their companies, should read carefully and think about. It is one of the most practical and focussed books on the topic of corporate-community relations that I have read.

The book is peppered throughout with quotes from members of both the corporates and the communities, discussing and commenting upon their good and bad experiences. Some of the assumptions commented upon highlight how important it is when working with communities to listen and understand where they are coming from, rather than impose your own values, views and vision upon them.

Section 1 focuses upon the concept of “getting it wrong and getting it right”. A understanding of the variability of “wrong and right” is clearly an important first step and recognising the fluidity of this is also emphasised, both directly and indirectly. The short, eight pages on corporate operation in situations of conflict, is very valuable and helpful. Section 2 looks at hiring policies, compensation policies, contracting policies, community consultation and negotiation, community projects, working with NGOs and working with governments. Section 3 examines the internal issues and management activities and discusses the measurement of the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement.

I found the index very well organised to enable “dipping in” to the main text to explore different concepts and topics and the use of tables and figures to consolidate options and ranges of responses was very helpful.

Highly Recommended as a book with practical insights and guidance, based upon the hard-won experiences of others.