Case Detail

Case Summary

Mending the Fractures: Creating a Multi-Stakeholder Framework for Building Shared Purpose in Unconventional Oil and Gas

Case Number: 5-314-502, Year Published: 2018

HBS Number: KE1083

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Authors: Jamie Jones ; Peter Bryant; Charlotte Snyder

Key Concepts

Communication, Conflict Management, Cross-cultural Relations, Government Policy, Negotiation, Politics, Public Relations, Social Responsibility, Society and Business Relations


In the summer of 2014, a large energy company was poised to begin expanding its unconventional natural gas operations in northeastern British Columbia in the hopes of capitalizing on the Canadian province's determination to build a liquid natural gas industry. The company had secured mineral rights from the province but had not simultaneously pursued surface rights from a First Nation community that historically had used the land. When a seismic exploration team appeared on the tribe's traditional territory without consulting it, as was customary (and in some cases legally required), the company unwittingly ignited a firestorm of protest from both First Nation and non–First Nation local citizens. Recognizing the importance of social acceptance both to operations and profitability, the company sent senior vice president Maria Paquet to participate in fireside discussions with tribal, regional government, and environmental leaders in the hopes of finding some common ground. Could these leaders arrive at sufficient trust and agreement to allow the company to move forward with its plans? Or would the company face gridlock, community blocking, or even financial peril? In a small-group role-playing exercise, students will step into the shoes of each of these stakeholders as they try to forge a path forward that is acceptable to all.

Learning Objectives

After reading and analyzing the case, students will be able to consider how a product/service might impact all stakeholders in a system; develop a multi-stakeholder framework for building shared purpose; and understand the importance of stakeholder collaboration in social license to operate and how that impacts the bottom line.

Number of Pages: 11

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Organizational Behavior

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: British Columbia, Canada

Industry: Petroleum extraction

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Gender: Female