Grant Will Fund Research to Enhance the Effectiveness of the Community Advisory Process
Saybrook has announced award of a research grant from ConocoPhillips for an external evaluation and engagement of the effectiveness of the company’s Community Advisory Process (CAP) with respect to its Rodeo refinery operations. The research project will develop recommendations to foster enhanced community participation and contributions for better informed decision making by the company regarding its operations, projects, and interaction with the communities surrounding the refinery.
The research will be undertaken by students in Saybrook’s Organizational Systems master’s and doctoral programs. The project will provide opportunities for Saybrook students to apply in a practical setting the insights gained through their course work and to utilize Saybrook’s expertise as a leader in applied organizational systems research.
Southern, Ed.D. Director of Saybrook’s Organizational Systems programs stated:
- "We are excited by the opportunity this grant award offers for our students to participate in a hands-on research setting and apply what they have learned in the classroom to a very real community engagement need. Our program emphasizes leadership, transformation, and sustainability on an individual, organization, community, and global level. This research project provides multiple ways for our students to explore these themes in a practical and meaningful context for the benefit of the Bay Area community."
The research is anticipated to proceed in phases that engage community members, company representatives, and other participants in constructive dialogue to develop new ways of working together and study best practices that enhance community involvement in organizational stewardship in ways that meet the needs for environmental sustainability.
- "With a significant commitment to sustainability throughout our corporation, we are delighted to be funding this research focusing on our San Francisco Area Refinery and Carbon Plant" said Rand Swenson, refinery manager. "ConocoPhillips has community advisory panels at many of our refining facilities throughout the United States. This research should provide the company and our CAP members with new insights for increasing the effectiveness of these ongoing community engagement processes."
Key questions on which the research will focus include:
- How can ConocoPhillips use the CAP to greater advantage in providing counsel and serving as a sounding board to the company?
- How can ConocoPhillips enhance its community outreach and engagement efforts?
- What facilitative approaches could be used to improve the CAP engagement processes?
The project will use an action research approach whose goal is to systematically and collaboratively identify new ways of working together through a facilitated process of engagement and selective investigation to inform the process.