Smart Alliance: How a Global Corporation and Environmental Activists Transformed A Tarnished Brand

By McKee, Larry L. | Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, January 2005 | Go to article overview

Smart Alliance: How a Global Corporation and Environmental Activists Transformed A Tarnished Brand


McKee, Larry L., Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship


Smart Alliance: How a Global Corporation And Environmental Activists Transformed A Tarnished Brand J. Gary Taylor and Patricia J. Scharlin Yale University Press (2004) 235 pages, Hardcover, $30.00

The practicing manager continues to seek new and innovative approaches for improving the organizational health of their company. This book provides a template in its assessment of the Chiquita Company for continually improving the level of integrity and social responsibility of a multinational company. This approach results in a company that can maintain profitability for the stockholders and at the same time continually improves the opportunity for meeting the needs of the many stakeholders of this company.

This book discusses the relationship of building trust with adversarial interest groups and the risk involved. The authors have detailed the relationship dynamics of an adversarial group and how they worked together in bringing about continuous improvement hi the overall global ecosystem integrity and improvement of the social conditions of all the stakeholders.

The book provides great detail pertaining to the dynamics of customers in the European Union, governmental officers, non-governmental officers and workers within the multinational organization. The issues of certification and ISO standards are discussed in detail and how they relate to industry acceptance of a social accountability standard.

A particular interest in this book will be found by those company managers and chief executive officers that steer a multinational company hi the 21st Century. Insight is provided by the authors regarding distant management, European visions, the relationship of farming to the overall culture and economic dynamics. Another intriguing area that the authors focus on in their analysis of the Chiquita Company is the steps that were taken in turning around a poor reputation of the company and how the partnering with an adversarial special interest group, the rainforest alliance, facilitated the process. Also of interest is how ISO standards and certification provides the necessary foundation for continuous improvements. Certainly, multinational company officials should place this book within easy reach.

While the authors have provided tremendous detail of the history and the specific relationships of the different groups that the Chiquita Company interacted with, it all comes together in a meaningful and understandable dialogue that provided direction hi improving the overall health of the company. One of the key strengths in the book that the authors provide to the practicing manager is a view of how an independent party, through certification activities, can help improve a company's social and environmental performance and responsibility. Additionally, the authors provide an excellent case for companies to report the environmental and social conditions associated with the company in a truthful and candid way. …

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