Award-winning study investigates successful indigenous community, corporate partnership
Mar 20, 2023, by Staff Writer
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Throughout her career, Professor of Management Eileen Kwesiga, Ph.D., has used her work to study how underrepresented groups can find success in a complex and ever-changing world. Her article "Stakeholder Transformation Process: The Journey of an Indigenous Community," published in The Journal of Business Ethics, which takes a look at how indigenous communities can work with multinational corporate partners to thrive in mutually beneficial arrangements, was recently added to the Honor Roll of Responsible Research in Business and Management for its social impact.

Cross-sector collaborations between businesses and indigenous communities are often seen as a tool to address societal challenges. However, these partnerships can often result in an imbalance of power that sees outside organizations adopt a position of authority and impose their own concerns and processes without due consideration of the communities, which are traditionally less wealthy and powerful. Kwesiga, working alongside Joy Olabisi, Associate Professor and Director of Management Department Undergraduate Programs at Rochester Institute of Technology; Norma Juma, Professor of Management at Washburn University; and Zhi Tang, Professor of Management at Rochester Institute of Technology, investigated the process of how stakeholders with no power can transform and evolve to a level of prominence.

Drawing from an in-depth case study of the Maasai, an indigenous community from East Africa, and their successful relationship with a multinational corporation, Kwesiga and her fellow researchers examined the factors that motivated their stakeholder transformation. Their findings suggest the existence of an entrepreneurial alertness among indigenous communities that is instrumental in propelling them as they evolve from one stakeholder category to the next. The paper also offers a window into how underprivileged “Base of Pyramid” communities can navigate their way out of poverty and make their voices heard.

Works are selected for the Responsible Research in Business and Management Honor Roll, curated by the the Responsible Research in Business and Management network, based on their benefit they present to business and the broader society toward the ultimate purpose of creating a better world and their potential positive impact on diverse stakeholders.

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