Opening the Black Box of Local Communities; Exploring their Perception and Judgment

Derakhshanalavijeh, Roya (2020). Opening the Black Box of Local Communities; Exploring their Perception and Judgment. Thesis (Doctoral), E.T.S.I. Industriales (UPM).


Title: Opening the Black Box of Local Communities; Exploring their Perception and Judgment
  • Derakhshanalavijeh, Roya
  • Mancini, Mauro
  • Gómez Frías, Víctor
Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Read date: January 2020
Freetext Keywords: Stakeholder management; Local communities; Governance; Ethics of care; Organization’s Legitimacy; Perception
Faculty: E.T.S.I. Industriales (UPM)
Department: Ingeniería de Organización, Administración de Empresas y Estadística
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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Project organizations are globally facing challenges for satisfying local communities through allocation of higher financial resources on hard infrastructure and development programs. Ascending trend of communities’ protest and resistance against the projects, on the other hand, deems the efficiency and effectiveness of these schemes. Furthermore, reviewing the stakeholder management literature elucidates that vast majority of stakeholder research is underpinned by the implicit assumption that the focal organization is the one and only decision maker and thus over emphasizes on reflecting the organization’s viewpoint. Consequently, the perception and viewpoint of the local communities are neglected and the literature fails to bring a comprehensive image of the debate. The purpose of this research is to depart from the organization centric approach of stakeholder management literature and analyze the local communities’ stakeholders to explore how they perceive the project organizations. To achieve that, this research establishes its foundation over the normative core of stakeholder theory and adopts theoretical lenses from psychological research, organizational studies and ethics of care to investigate how individuals within local community perceive organization’s activities and how contextual and organizational factors influence this perception. The results of this research concur that project organizations essentially assign roles and rights to the stakeholders according to their group belonging. In the governance structure of the organizations, the local communities’ stakeholders are routinely positioned quite distal from the organizational level where the decision making processes are undertaken. The local communities’ individuals, consequently, are excluded from the decisions that influence them the most. Conceptualization through attribution theory elucidates that this exclusion results in development of negative bonds between the organizations and local communities. The communities’ perception can also be influenced by the level of power and perceived legitimacy of local government and media. Informed by feminist formulation of stakeholder theory, this research suggests that construction of the organization’s knowledge from the demanded care of the local communities and carrying out the caring activities at the local level considerably alters the perception of the communities. To recognize the communities’ demanded care, the organizations ought to decentralize the decision making to their border where individuals from inside and outside of the organization are in contact with each other. Through principled dialogues, these multidimensional selves at the local level develop a unified army to conduct the caring activities. The responsibilities of organizations, therefore, are not essentially identified by the organization’s limited knowledge and are not broad brushed by excessive concentration on the financial developments. They rather have an adoptive and democratic nature and are designed according to the recognized demands of the local communities. This approach empowers the local communities and protects them on their vulnerable points from the harm of the projects. For the practical implications, this research suggests that management for stakeholders in large organizations ought to be done through the embodiment of virtue of caring in individuals. It is believed that these are the virtuous individuals that allow the organization to perform ethically. The code of ethics and formal contracts developed at the organizational level do not independently result in satisfaction of local communities. Furthermore, these contracts cannot support the local communities’ individuals to make correct perceptions from the motives behind the organization’s behavior. These are the individuals at the local level who, getting connected to these stable components of the organization, make caring activities practical and by conducting principled dialogues with them create an environment within which the perceptions at the two sides of the organization border are mutually constructed.

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Item ID: 58113
DC Identifier:
OAI Identifier:
DOI: 10.20868/UPM.thesis.58113
Deposited by: Archivo Digital UPM 2
Deposited on: 25 Feb 2020 07:05
Last Modified: 25 May 2022 15:09
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