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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Competitiveness of community forest enterprises for resource sustainability and community empowerment : an organizational hybridity perspective Siegner, Meike


Decentralized forest management is gaining prominence as an effective approach for the sustainable use of forest resources and to ensure the well-being of rural, Indigenous, and resource-dependent communities around the world. In many places, decentralized forest management is carried out through community forest enterprises (CFEs). CFEs are commercial entities which pursue plural goals including resource conservation, economic development, poverty alleviation, and preserving local cultural values and traditions. This dissertation seeks to advance our understanding of how CFEs can overcome management challenges so they can more effectively meet their goals. First, by conducting qualitative meta-synthesis of key works in the social enterprise and CFE literatures, challenges and opportunities facing CFEs were identified, and consolidated to form a set of solutions to management hurdles. Second, using the theoretical lenses of Organizational Hybridity, Paradox and Tensions and Dualities, this research also examines approaches to community engagement in CFEs’ decision-making in the Canadian Province of British Columbia. A qualitative research design was employed which comprised multiple case studies. Results show that CFEs struggle to balance the need for community engagement in decision-making and demonstrating commercial prudence. Some managers reconcile this tension by using separation strategies, with others using integration strategies. Third, drawing from literature in organizational competitiveness, the dissertation also tested the relationship between competitive strategy and CFE effectiveness. This was achieved through the dissemination of a survey among CFEs in Canada and the United States. Quantitative analyses showed that more effective CFEs were more likely to pursue mixed competitive strategies which simultaneously focus on efficiency and low costs along with the exploration of niche markets. Lastly, drawing from upper echelons theory, a sample of CFEs in British Columbia, Canada, the relationship between managerial personal characteristics, and organizational outcomes was tested, showing support for the link between manager profile and performance. Overall this dissertation identifies interventional approaches to enhance community participation, and outlines leadership attributes needed for effectiveness in CFEs. Thus, the dissertation advances knowledge about what CFEs can do, how this can be done, and who can be entrusted to manage them.

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