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Communities catch-up 3: Communities, culture and cooperation

There is a need for community engagement to be incorporated into the corporate culture of forest plantation companies. In order to achieve sustainable forest management, community engagement is a key ingredient. Without community engagement, it would not be possible to be pro-active about addressing community needs and promoting two way communications to help achieve sustainable forest management. The CRCF Communities research project 4.3.3 ‘Adoption of community engagement in Australian plantation forest companies’ aims to enhance the adoption of community engagement in the corporate culture of plantation companies.

Corporate culture is defined by Ahmed et al. (1999 cited in Sadri & Lees 2001, p. 854) as ‘the pattern of arrangement, material or behaviour which has been adopted by a society (corporation, group, or team) as the accepted way of solving problems’. In investigating corporate culture, it is understood that an individual’s actions in a company are governed by their own understanding of their role which is affected both by the organisational culture as well as what their boss(es) tell them to do. The organisational culture is influenced by many external factors such as government policy, investors, market environment, climate change, public pressures, international treaties and other legislation just to name a few. Corporate social responsibility principles also relate to corporate culture. The concept of corporate social responsibility entails addressing obligations business has to society including economic, legal, ethical and discretionary responsibilities (Carroll 1991). In order to be socially responsible, it is argued that community engagement is required. Corporate social responsibility principles and community engagement practices are an important part of sustainable outcomes.

In order to understand how the corporate culture is shaped and how community engagement is valued by forest organisations, it is important to consider the vast influences that impact forest operations. To gain that understanding is a multifaceted task that also requires in-depth information about forest organisations. Sustainable forest management relies upon effective management of an entire organisation, which reflects the nature and culture of the organisation.

For more information on this project, please view the student profile for Melissa Gordon. Melissa’s principal supervisor is Prof Frank Vanclay.


Carroll, AB 1991, 'The pyramid of corporate social responsibility: Toward the moral management of organizational stakeholders', Business Horizons, 34(4): 39-48.

Sadri, G & Lees, B 2001, ' Developing corporate culture as a competitive advantage', The Journal of Management Development, 20(10): 853-859.