This paper presents findings on the effectiveness of management systems to elevate social performance, illustrated by two case studies of shale gas development in the United States and Europe. This paper provides practical insights to the upstream oil and gas industry on (a) using management systems to drive a higher level of social performance for shale gas development and (b) generally integrating social performance even more effectively into management systems. The case studies illustrate several benefits driven by management systems: increased organizational focus and identification of resourcing needs through deliberate planning, performance innovations to meet stakeholder expectations and concerns, an ability to meet the challenge of community-level engagement with underlying confidence in processes. The company's experience in these case studies also illustrated a difference between the environment, health and safety (EHS) function and the external affairs function in the extent that the management system governed performance . Practioners also noted a seeming trade-off in employing a management systems approach: that better performance in the short- and long-term requires reconciliation with initially slower decision making and operational expansion. Finally, this paper presents several practical tips on social responsibility and shale gas across the key dimensions of a management system, with three concluding considerations around the importance of adequate resourcing, sharpening functional responsibility and accountability for social performance and the role of company-wide requirements.
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