Frequently asked questions about the social licence to operate

Robert G. Boutilier
2014 Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal  
The 'social licence to operate' (SLO) is an increasingly heard term that was originally coined to draw the attention of mining companies to stakeholder issues. Drawing on questions and comments voiced in 50 events attended by approximately 900 managers, consultants, academics and students, this article employs the rhetoric device of 'frequently asked questions' (FAQs) to articulate conceptual and socio-political issues associated with the term. The first two of the six FAQs deal with the most
more » ... eal with the most novel contribution of the SLO concept, the idea that stakeholders have real power. The third and fourth FAQs deal with ethical and political issues about how stakeholders wield their power. The fifth FAQ looks at how to weight the diverse SLO levels granted by a non-cohesive stakeholder network. The sixth FAQ deals with confusion arising from the fact that both specific projects and whole industries can lose their SLO. The answers to the FAQs explore issues raised by the questions and identify (a) existing research that can illuminate the questions, and (b) latent questions that need further empirical research.
doi:10.1080/14615517.2014.941141 fatcat:iop6wg3xqnbglgk7htwrow3tva