Engaging the other stakeholders » Manila Bulletin News

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By Jesus P. Estanislao

Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao

In enterprise governance, such as corporate governance, it has now been widely accepted that stakeholders’ interests have to be protected and served (and not just those of the shareholders). After all, they have a stake in the enterprise, and in many instances their stake is much larger than that of the enterprise owners.

Under “shared value,” we have explicit recognition of other parties (i.e., enterprises and sectors) having important stakes in a common undertaking. For instance, the small group of poor families having banded together to learn the savings habit, etc., have their skin in the game, so to speak; success of the savings promotion initiative would enable them to undertake a livelihood project. This becomes even clearer under the IPSP Bayanihan of the AFP; the other sectors involved, especially the local government units, have a shared vital interest in the success of any “peace and development” project. Acceptance of the shared interest of other stakeholders is much more clear-cut under the shared value concept (than in the old corporate governance paradigms).

What would this acceptance mean under the “alliance and social responsibility” component of a program to sustain and strengthen good governance for continuing transformation? It means, among many others, the following:

  • The other stakeholders are regular “protagonists” of the shared undertaking to attain a shared objective or value. They have as much stake in the success of the undertaking as the others who may be taking the lead in pursuing the undertaking. For instance, the military sector has as much stake in the “peace and development” projects under IPSP Bayanihan as the local government units that are expected to take a more prominent and leading role.
  • The participation of every stakeholder in the undertaking has to be deep and meaningful. There has to be real substance in the contribution expected of every stakeholder. While variousstakeholders may be contributing their share according to their respective comparative advantage, nonetheless no stakeholder can serve as a trophy or decorative trimming for the common undertaking.
  • Since the entire value chain will have to be taken into account, it is important that participation in the shared undertaking should be multi-sectoral, i.e., the key links in the chain should be represented and deeply involved. As we have seen in the work of the Foundation for People Development, the participation of civil society, government, and private business raises the probability for success of the shared undertaking. Under the IPSP Bayanihan of the AFP, the same holds true; LGUs take the lead, other national government agencies get involved, and various citizens’ groups are also asked to put in their contribution. For its part, the PNP with its community service-oriented policing has found out that where key sectors of the community get deeply involved in pursuing the PNP Patrol Plan, which is the transformation program for the PNP, success in attaining various strategic objectives is much easier to secure.

Openness to participation of stakeholders in any governance undertaking represents acceptance of a basic truth: that no family, no team, no enterprise, no unit of a value chain can operate as though it were a self-enclosed silo, unconnected with other silos. Actual facts on the ground attest to the vital need of getting every enterprise or unit that forms part of a value chain to work closely with other stakeholders belonging to that same value chain. Thus, the imperative of getting all key stakeholders involved in filling the gaps, ironing the kinks, and removing bottlenecks such that the entire value chain can work seamlessly, efficiently, and effectively.

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