Do organizations have the confidence of stakeholders? Are their activities morally and socially acceptable?
The Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University engaged in a study, the first of its kind, to discover whether Canadians believe that organizations are trustworthy, socially responsible, environmentally sensitive and ethical. In other words, do Canadian organizations have a Social License to Operate (SLO)? What organizations do Canadians believe live up to their promises? Contribute positively to local communities? Use Sustainable practices? Treat employees and customers fairly?
Until Dalhousie’s Faculty of Management explored these questions, no one had an answer.
In October 2017, a bilingual on-line survey was sent to a sample of Canadians, aged 18 and over, asking them to respond to the sub-components of the SLO—trustworthiness, social responsibility, environmental responsibility, and ethical practices—in relation to national transportation providers, food retailers, clothing retailers, and government departments.
“We tried to choose sectors that all Canadians would have experience with. Everyone eats, everyone has to clothe themselves and get from place to place, everyone deals with the government in one way or another.” Dr. Vivian Howard, Associate Professor & Associate Dean (academic) Faculty of Management and lead author of the report
This survey was a pilot project which will be repeated in future years. Having a baseline of Canadians’ opinions in place will allow the Faculty of Management to track changing perceptions in a volatile consumer marketplace.
“Similar social licence studies have been conducted in the past, but they have typically been restricted to just one organization or company and often restricted to just one geographical area. This study is unique because it is national in scope, covers several sectors and is demographically diverse.” Dr. Tony Walker, Assistant Professor, School for Resource and Environment Studies and coauthor of the report.
On January 31, 2018, the results were published. We invite you to read the media release and full Social License Report to benefit from the valuable insight on how Canadians view the organizations they interact with most frequently in their daily lives.