Purpose – Illustrates how good HR practices can help when a company becomes engulfed in conflict with neighboring communities.
Design/methodology/approach – Describes the case of Aracruz Celulose which, while feted with awards for its best practice on sustainability and HR, was involved in a 30-year conflict over land ownership.
Findings – Argues that HR managers can: ensure that the firm's talent pool has the requisite leadership skills for future challenges; play a role in educating managers, workers and stakeholders so that their mindsets are changing with the times and current realities; take steps to ward off or ameliorate the effect of societal conflicts and targeting by non-governmental organizations; educate and advocate that HRM best practices with employees and other stakeholders hold equal importance to best practices in internal operations; establish social-performance tools to audit how well the company is doing in terms of corporate social responsibility and stakeholder relations.
Practical implications – Reveals that best practice in operational areas under a company's control cannot always protect firms from risks related to wider societal dilemmas.
Originality/value – Cautions against allowing claim and counter-claim to fuel a festering dispute.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/asbjorn_osland/19/