Social license to operate: Practical understanding of the concept and processes to attain and maintain it

  • Tatjana Laskovic City of Edmonton, Edmonton (Alberta)
Keywords: communications, public relations, PR, social license to operate, organizational behaviour, stakeholder relations, relationship management, public participation


This study builds on previous research of social license with the goal of developing a deeper understanding of the concept at the practical and professional levels. The study explores four distinct perspectives of social license: community, business, regulatory, and public participation expert perspective. Additionally, the study seeks to understand the extent to which organizational behaviour affects the social license processes and the role of communication in processes related to social license. Overall, the study’s findings show that the practical understanding of social license is not so different from the theoretical understanding of the concept. While participants emphasize that social license is actually a relationship, they also identify the importance of stakeholders’ perceptions; organizational behaviour and performance; and the interests and values of organizations and stakeholders as key considerations in matters of social license.

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