New Directions in Social Impact Assessment
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New Directions in Social Impact Assessment

Conceptual and Methodological Advances

Edited by Frank Vanclay and Ana Maria Esteves

This important new book outlines current developments in thinking in the field of Social Impact Assessment (SIA). It advances the theory and practice of SIA, and argues that a dramatic shift is required in the way socioeconomic studies and community participation is undertaken. The book emphasizes that, much more than the act of predicting impacts in a regulatory context, SIA needs to be the process of managing the social aspects of development and that there needs to be a holistic and integrated approach to impact assessment. It stresses that greater attention needs to be given to ensuring that the goals of development are attained and enhanced.
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Chapter 2: Understanding the Organizational Context

Deanna Kemp


Deanna Kemp Introduction It is widely accepted that organizations and their organizational arrangements are important in understanding development (Cowell et al., 2001). This chapter seeks to answer the question: what does ‘organization’ mean for social impact assessment (SIA)? There are many organizational forms that can influence SIA outcomes and processes, such as political parties, government agencies, regulatory bodies, family units, community groups, landowner associations, local and regional councils, Indigenous representative bodies, consulting firms, financing organizations and project proponents. The focus of this chapter is on the project proponent and, in particular, large, hierarchical, multinational organizations in heavy footprint industries such as the extractive industries (e.g. mining, oil and gas) and construction (e.g. for dams and other large scale infrastructure). Specifically, this chapter considers the degree to which project proponent organizations influence SIA processes and outcomes. It remains a fact that in most contexts, particularly jurisdictions that are pro-development, project proponents hold considerable power and are able to significantly influence outcomes. Whether SIA is conceptualized as a suite of processes that include management and ongoing monitoring (Lockie, 2001; Vanclay, 2002, 2003, 2006; O’Fairchealleagh, 2009), or whether ongoing management is considered separate but linked to SIA (Franks et al., 2009) is not a central concern of this chapter. All these processes are important and relevant to undertaking SIA, whether they are inherent or coterminous processes. What is of central concern, however, is the degree to which SIA findings and/or recommendations that emerge at different stages of the process (e.g. during the initial...

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