Industry / Community Relationships in Critical Industrial Developments

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Rickson, Roy
Burch, David
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Tisdell, John
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Traditionally, proponents of industrial developments emphasise the technical and economic factors associated with development and largely underestimate the importance of the social, cultural, economic and political dimensions, which are critical in all industrial developments. These socio-cultural factors include community value and belief systems and notably, also the techno-economic values and ideologies to which government agencies and industrial developers subscribe. This thesis argues that to assure local peace and a socially, culturally and environmentally sustainable development, different stakeholder values and ideologies must be aligned and industry/community interests balanced. These opposing value positions, however, are widely believed to be irreconcilable and that responsible industrial development cannot occur without a fundamental shift from the traditional resource management paradigm to its ecocentric alternative. In contrast, this thesis found that different stakeholder values and ideologies could be successfully aligned without a wholesale paradigm shift. This was made possible by merging social variables with the traditional resource management paradigm as well as with various organisational change theories. This thesis, therefore, advances a new synthesis that combines the social variable of project specific power sharing, the traditional resource management paradigm, and organisational change theory and in particular the punctuated equilibrium and deep structure paradigms. This synthesis is particularly useful to better understand how and why organisational structures and substructures respond to punctuated techno-economic equilibria, such as resource availability. This thesis analyses these discontinuous change processes of punctuated equilibrium by applying its paradigmatic synthesis to two large industrial developments. These development were chosen because the developer of the FEnza, Kleiner HASelboden, hence the project name FEKLHAS, in Switzerland and the operators of the East End Mine in Central Queensland faced the same problem of resource availability.
In contrast to the organisational change literature, the deep structure and punctuated equilibrium paradigms this thesis found that incremental change does not necessarily occur when only the more marginal levels of deep structure are affected. Furthermore, revolutionary change does not necessarily occur when fundamental levels of deep structure reconfigure, supposedly changing with them all marginal levels embedded in the core levels. Consequently, this thesis argues fundamental external perturbations such as limitations in resource availability do not necessarily alter deep structure commitments at all organisational levels. Instead, a new phenomenon emerged from this study, which this thesis calls, project specific deep structure commitments. This thesis found that these case specific deep structure commitments are capable of isolating the marginal organisational level from the core. This may be tolerated by the core organisational level to avoid legal exposure, thereby assuring stability, while maintaining the earlier deep structure commitments at the margins. Revolutionary change or the reconfiguration of deep structure commitments at the core organisational level on the other hand, may exclude organisational substructures at the marginal level for the same reasons. Against this background this thesis argues that organisational deep structure forces associated with incremental change are more compatible with the punctuated equilibrium idea than previously considered.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Australian School of Environmental Studies
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Industry community relationships
urban geography
industrial sociology
community relationships
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