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NGO activism towards social sustainability in restrictive institutional contexts

Prof Natalia Yakovleva, Professor of Strategy at KEDGE Business School, France, delivered this virtual guest lecture.

18 March 2022

About this event

Event abstract

In restrictive institutional contexts, such as Russia, the power of NGOs to influence state and corporate behaviour is limited and there are still gaps in understanding how NGOs can influence policy change.

This study examines a case of successful NGO activism in Russia that led to the introduction of a regional law on Indigenous peoples’ impact assessment and compensation in Yakutia.

  • We examine the interactions between NGOs, state and industry, using stakeholder salience and issue salience approaches.
  • We study an evolution of NGO activism, examine NGO tactics and state reactions.
  • We analyse how a range of sustainability claims by civil activists, such as environmental protection, sharing of economic benefits, and local community development during industrial projects have taken a back seat.

Only the problem of Indigenous peoples’ traditional economies has found a successful resolution with a new legislation introduced in the region. We find that, although confrontational tactics are suppressed by the state, NGO activism can enhance the visibility of social problems.

To influence the decision-makers, NGOs engage in collaborative ‘salience work’ by aligning with powerful stakeholders, advocating for incremental solutions rather than seeking radical solutions that are unaffordable to decision-makers.

About the speaker:

Prof Natalia Yakovleva is a Professor of Strategy KEDGE Business School, France. Natalia has worked for Newcastle, Surrey, Winchester, and Cardiff Universities. She has a PhD in Environmental Studies and BSc in Economics. Natalia specialises in research on corporate social responsibility, sustainability management and international business.

Natalia has published in the Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Cleaner Production, and Journal of World Business. She is a co-editor of Routledge Handbook of Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development, May 2022.

Session resources

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