Corporate – Community Relationship : An exploratory study

This summer, I finish another small study as a part of a research methods course. While findings are thin and not too reliable either, I have enjoyed every bit of it. For there are few opportunities when one can try out a variety of methods – qualitative, ethnographic, GIS based analysis, observations of various types etc.

With a team, I have tried to understand what kind of relationship exist between a large corporate facility and its immediate community, in a city like Bangalore. A wide range of things could have been done, explored and closely investigated whereas we ended up looking at a few historical satellite imagery and developments in land use – land cover on the ground. As I write the paper, here is what we are presenting tomorrow.

The idea (and research question) for us emerges from two sources –

i) From our exposure to corporate –community tensions across India. We find that from West Bengal (Lanjigarh) to Maharashtra (Lavassa) to Kerala (Coco Cola in Plachimada) corporates have had a not so easy relationship with the immediate community with which they co-exist. The distrust of corporations run so high that the relationship is automatically inferred as exploitation of the community by the big company. We try to understand this relationship in the urban context and examine if the relationship is always negative. Although we don’t end up establishing any conclusive evidence as our time spent in doing this was very limited, we find that the process gives us a segue into studying this relationship with a certain system level view.

ii) That urbanization is a major force shaping cities across the world. If this is real then what do we know of corporate – community relationships in urban contexts? We try to develop this understanding.

Going further we must map the range of interactions and then weight them into the final relationship map that will evolve from this exercise. A whole lot of possibilities exist. But perhaps that will have to wait till we get time and institutional space to pursue this.

 

 

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One comment

  1. tiwarisac · May 6, 2013

    Set of comments from Praveena (via mail):

    Generic comment on the thought behind this project:

    There is very little correlation between the corporation and water stress in the area the corporation has come in.

    Another more basic question, why shoudl corporation take interest in the community’s water scarcity? If a municipality is allowing a corporation to put up its shop in a area, its the municipalities resposibility to supply water to people and corporation.

    A corporation can not and should not take up that responsibility. The most a corporation can show its responsibility will be through ‘judicious’ use of the resource, in this case water.

    So I do not see how water as a resource can illustrate corporate-community relationship.

    Slide 5: Isnt it too simplified? You have reduced the immediate community to ‘WORKERS’ alone. When you say ‘workers’ does it mean that it is the workers of the corporations? Is it something to do with the theory and what you studied? Because the community is composed of different groups of people right?

    Because your study is to do with workers alone, you can mention in this slide alone other elements in an urban ecosystem. And from next slide mention remove them all. And mention while presenting that due to the focus of study other elements are left behind.

    Slide 8: The list of Questions you have put up under “We ask exploratory questions: ” do not match the exploration Questions 1 and 2 of Slide 3.

    Questions in Slide 3:
    1. What is the role of a ‘corporation’ in the contemporary society?
    2. What is the nature – (positive/negative/indifferent) of relationship between a corporate and its immediate community (geography) in terms of resources and services in an urban context?

    I can not map these two fundamental Qs of this project to the specif exploratory Qs in Slide 8.

    Slide 23: Your presentation is to understand Corporate-Community relationship, taking up water as the resource.
    In this slide mention a specif bullet point saying ‘water’, as that is the resource you are using to measure and understand the relationship. Or add it in to the sub-bullet along with livelihood, healthcare in the first point.

    Slide 25: All the people you have profiled do they even know RWA exists???? And I do not think monkey menace should come in this slide. It is distracting. If you have a strong reason to it, let it be. Otherwise this monkey point only makes the deck even more weaker.

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