Stakeholder engagement as a tool for conflict resolution


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Stakeholder engagement as a tool for conflict resolution

  1. 1. Effective Stakeholder Engagement as a tool for conflict resolution Reana Rossouw Next Generation Consultants
  2. 2. Moving awayfrom HostilityStakeholderEngagement• What is it• Who are they• Why is it so difficult to listen• Case Studies• Moving on
  3. 3. Definitions in the stakeholder environment • Communication: – Any manner of information sharing with stakeholders, generally through one-way, non-iterative processes • Consultation: – The process of gathering information or advice from stakeholders and taking those views into consideration to amend plans, make decisions or set directions • Dialogue: – An exchange of views and opinion to explore different perspectives, needs and alternatives, with a view to fostering mutual understanding, trust and cooperation on a strategy or initiative • Engagement: – An organisation’s efforts to understand and involve stakeholders and their concerns in its activities and decision-making processes 3Reference: Stakeholder Engagement Manual – Page 6, UNEP, Volume 1 –
  4. 4. Who are stakeholders?• Stakeholders are defined as: – Individuals or groups who will be impacted by, or can influence the success or failure of an organisation’s activities (Bourne 2009).• By definition, a stakeholder has a stake in the activity. This stake may be: – An interest in the outcome, an individual or group affected by the work or the outcome, whether direct or indirect – Rights (legal or moral) – Ownership, such as intellectual property rights, or real property rights – Contribution in the form of knowledge (expertise or experience) or support (in the form of funds, human resources, or advocacy (Bourne 2009).
  5. 5. Local Case Studies (1)• Guide to the main players - The world of acid mine drainage - whos who. 09 Nov 2010 12:29 - Mara Kardas-Nelson• The activists: – The self-proclaimed “Erin Brockovich of South Africa”, Mariette Liefferink leads the pack of those sounding the acid mine drainage (AMD) alarm bells. Organisations like Liefferink’s Foundation for Sustainable Environment, Earthlife Africa and Greenpeace are teaming up with disgruntled scientists, concerned unions, and affected community members to push the government and industry to do something—and soon.• The mines: – Simultaneously the bad guys and the poor suckers who are left to pick up the scraps of a fading gold industry, mining companies sit in a precarious place. While many have left tailings unremediated and voids to fill up, others are attempting to pump and treat what they can, but call on government to assist with enormous costs and historical liability.• The government: – Due to the large number of ownerless and abandoned mines, the Department of Water Affairs and Department of Mineral Resources are responsible for a large part of the AMD debacle. Poor remediation and lack of action has been encouraged by a poorly regulated environment initiated under apartheid and further facilitated by lack of management, skills and budget under democratic governance.• The scientists: – Academics and scientists have been at the forefront of the AMD issue for decades, releasing reports on the affects of mine effluent since the 1950s. But their data doesn’t always align, and personal politics encouraged by funding allegiances puts many scientists head-to-head: who pays who is central to who says what. While all agree there’s a problem, opinions vary on the extent of the crisis, as well as how to fix it.• The communities: – From Soweto to Potchefstroom, from Emalahleni to Randfontein, millions of South Africans are living, working, playing, and praying amid mine waste. While many communities see tailings dumps and polluted water as just another fact of life, concern is starting to spread, with neighbours swapping stories of decreased crop yields, birth defects in livestock and increased cancer rates.
  6. 6. Why is stakeholder engagement so difficult?• Stakeholder management is difficult because it involves different people with different expectations and different information needs.• Engaging stakeholders for collaboration involves constant vigilance in a constantly changing landscape of relationships with stakeholders whose support, interests and influence fluctuates unpredictably.
  7. 7. Increasing sophistication in approaches to engagementCommunications via one-way channels designed tospread information• TRUST USConsultation and dialogue via interactive channels• SHOW USPartnerships that create value and are focused onfinding solutions• INVOLVE US, HEAR US
  8. 8. Local Case Studies (2)• Stakeholder relations prioritised as Sasol recalibrates to post- Marikana world – Engineering News – JSE-listed energy and chemicals group Sasol, which is arguably South Africa’s largest fixed investor, has set the strengthening of stakeholder relationships as one of its top-five priorities for the coming year, as part of a move to deal with the risks posed by South Africa’s social problems of poverty, unemployment and inequality. – The issue of stakeholder engagement had also been elevated to a key priority for the group’s 2013 financial year and had been accompanied by a change to one of the group’s core company values “from customer focused to stakeholder focused”. – Sasol, which supported the exploration moratorium and stepped back from involvement in an earlier Karoo basin shale-gas prospect, believes that, under a sound regulatory regime, it is in South Africa’s national interest to assess its shale-gas resources. “So we are definitely interested in looking at opportunities in the Karoo, if it can be done in an environmentally-friendly fashion.”
  9. 9. Stakeholder Behaviour in difficult circumstances• People are often resistant because of : – Fear that something bad or difficult is going to happen – Uncertainty about the future – Doubt about how an issue will affect them• And as such it influences their behaviour – Denial – resistant - will not engage – Turbulence – argumentative, emotional
  10. 10. Local Case Studies (3)• Stakeholder engagement meeting on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project – As part of the ongoing stakeholder engagement process of the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, on Thursday, 19 July 2012, a technical task team engagement was held with representatives of stakeholders at the Union Buildings. – Director-General in the Presidency, Dr Cassius Lubisi, led the government delegation and chaired the session. This engagement included representatives from Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (SAVRALA), Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA), Road Freight Association (RFA) and leaders of the religious sector. – In the interest of transparency, government shared information with stakeholders to contextualise the GFIP and provide clarity on technical issues. Technical details shared with stakeholders included among others some of the explanations for the operational and administrative cost of the e-toll system. – The stakeholder engagement provided a platform to respond to issues raised by stakeholders, as well as to begin to unpack technical issues. Presentations included immediate to short term programmes as well as long term plans to developing an integrated public transport system. – Stakeholders argued strongly for alternative funding models for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project including Fuel Levy. – Government is aware of the concerns of stakeholders and is committed to consider all suggestions in deciding on a way forward.
  11. 11. Stakeholder Relationships Compete Collaborate (win/lose) (win/win) Compromise (half win/half lose)Avoid/withdraw Accommodate (lose/lose) (lose/win)
  12. 12. Engaging stakeholders for collaboration involves constantvigilance in a constantly changing landscape of relationships with stakeholders whose support, interests and influence fluctuates unpredictably.
  13. 13. Consensus Reaching consensus All stakeholders are engaged and commit to True consensus an agreed outcome. This commitment hold We aim for true consensus into the future under challenge All stakeholders are engaged and agree on Qualified consensus many aspects. However, there are We recognise that this may happen outstanding issues Consensus is declared, but is not valid due to false restrictions, lack of engagement, conflict False consensus We must avoid this or avoidance of issues. This leads to chaos, dissatisfaction and resentment.
  14. 14. Overcoming hostility• Engage in issues that matter – Focus on clear objectives that require action. Stakeholders have limited time and will prefer to engage on really important project concerns.• Be ready to act – Use engagement to drive decisions, not as a public relations exercise.• Engage the right stakeholders – Identify the right stakeholders. Ensure the process is inclusive and diverse. Consider stakeholders’ expertise, level of influence and willingness to engage.• Engage empowered representatives – Engage stakeholder representatives who are empowered to take decisions for their constituents• Seek shared value – Ensure that each stakeholder benefits directly from engagement and understands how project decisions will impact on other stakeholders• Agree rules of engagement – Establish the scope, objectives, roles, rules and risks of engagement at the beginning. Agree the process of decision-making, conflict resolution and evaluation• Manage exceptions – Make certain that all parties have realistic ambitions and agree on clear outcomes of the engagement
  15. 15. Overcoming hostility• Provide adequate resources – Devote adequate resources (time, money and people) to ensure success• Choose the right formats – Choose the appropriate format (e.g. private meeting, roundtable discussions, stakeholder panels, etc.) to achieve the objective of the each engagement• Act fairly – Be sensitive to perceived or actual power differences and facilitate the process to allow fair participation• Listen to (critical) stakeholder views – Ensure engagement is a dialogue and not a one-way information feed. Allow stakeholders to voice their views• Build trust – Take time to build trust based on the personal chemistry of the individuals and the common values of the organizations involved. Commit to long term relationships with stakeholders• Be open – Be responsive, consistent and timely in communications. Communicate well in advance, document the engagement rationale and processes and allow for stakeholder feedback• Be accountable – Link the engagement process to project decision making and governance• Look beyond the engagement – Learn from the engagement. Involve stakeholders to assess the success of the engagement as well as the project outcome. Examine whether any next steps are required
  16. 16. Local Case Studies (4)• We were humbled by the intensity of the various stakeholders’ participation and the manner in which they freely shared with us their ideas, perspectives and expectations. It became clear during the engagement process that the central role that retailers occupy in the supply chain leads to high expectations among stakeholders, who recognise that our supplier convening power and access to consumers provides a powerful opportunity to influence supplier and customer behaviour.• A wide variety of issues were identified, investigated and debated during our stakeholder engagement process. – These issues included the Walmart effect, South Africa’s Consumer Protection Act, product safety, Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), rural poverty, the marginalisation of unemployed youth, labour rights, unsustainable consumption, local manufacturing competitiveness, biodiversity systems, the crisis in education, energy security, crime and corruption, waste management, HIV and AIDS, water security, job security, food security and many others.
  17. 17. In Summary• Stakeholder engagement has and add tremendous value across the business• Stakeholder engagement is best understood if the whole business is involved• Stakeholder engagement is better supported if managed in relation to other communication activities• In reality, stakeholders don’t present themselves in neat clearly identified and linear, homogenous groups• Stakeholder engagement requires flexibility and a sense of adventure as well as courage to allow a free flow of discussion, dialogue and communication• Stakeholder engagement is not complete until it is reported, action is taken and feedback is given• Successful engagement reflects diversity and conflict in the views expressed 17
  18. 18. Contact• Reana Rossouw• Next Generation Consultants• Specialists in Sustainability and Reporting, Socio Economic Investment and Development, Enterprise and Business Development• Tel: (011) 2750315• E-mail:• Web:• PLEASE NOTE: THIS PRESENTATION IS PART OF A LARGER BODY OF RESEARCH!• THIS INFORMATION IS COPYWRITED AND THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF NEXT GENERATION CONSULTANTS