Local Stakeholder Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility with Petroleum Development

On Tuesday, April 10, Melanie Jenkins will defend her master‘s theis in Coastal and Marine Management. Her thesis is titled Local Stakeholder Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility with Petroleum Development: A Case Study in Harstad, Norway. The thesis presentation begins at 16:00 and is open to the public.

The thesis advisor is Dr. Ilan Kelman a Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at the University College of London Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction. The external reader is Dr. Auður Ingólfsdóttir, a specialist at the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre.


This thesis examines perceptions of petroleum development in the Norwegian Arctic city of Harstad in the context of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Petroleum has long been a significant monetary contributor to the Norwegian economy and Norway has the third largest potential for Arctic petroleum in the world (after Russia and the USA). There are many different voices involved in the decision-making and policy surrounding petroleum development and often it is the local voices that are not heard. The aim of this project was to identify these local voices. Data was collected through in-person, semi-structured interviews with 29 people. The project met its aim by identifying the perceived benefits and costs of petroleum development. Respondents preferred to focus on the benefits associated with petroleum development and spoke of the costs of petroleum development only when the costs were perceived to be close to them. This project showed that the people of Harstad are generally satisfied with the petroleum industry but they would like for there to be more economic ripple effects and benefits to their city.  The costs of petroleum were more of an afterthought, with climate change issues not being a priority. This case study will provide an important source of data for CSR managers and community leaders who want to mitigate the impact of petroleum development from multiple perspectives, as well as to document residents’ concerns for future petroleum development. Understanding the benefits and the costs of petroleum development from the perspectives of local people can help petroleum companies alter and develop CSR programs to meet the needs of their local communities. Knowledge gained from studies like this will inform the government and petroleum industry to make better, socially responsible decisions.

Melanie Jenkins defends her thesis on local stakeholder perceptions of corporate social responsibility with petroleum development.