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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

CSR consulting: A choice beyond ethical professional values and my own humanity?

In this paper I will explore two interconnected consulting relations struggling with trust dynamics, while dealing with cases of corruption, exploitation and toxic environments. The first case, which I will describe as 'successful' took place between 2008 - 2009 while I was leading a complex intervention for PaisGas by FACEC in the context of a case of national corruption known as 'Petrogate crisis' were the local Mafia conducted widespread surveillance and illegal phone tapping of rival politicians, journalists, business executives, government ministers, and judges [...] This professional assignment lead to my interest in the complex dynamics of indigenous communities with the government, the extractive industries and the larger Peruvian society. As well as my desire to contribute to the development of their own leadership structure for a sustainable and healthy integration into modern society. The second case, which I will describe as 'failure' will narrate my consulting relationship with TilsaOil, a multinational oil company that sponsored my work with two indigenous organizations, in exchange for consultation sessions with their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team from (2010-2012). In this case, I will describe two specific contracts of two Consultancy sessions each. In each contract, I will narrate the context of entry and the way in which I applied contemporary principles of CSR to the contracting process that aimed to move away from philanthropic and assistencialistic models that generate dependency. I will start by narrating how by being aware of conflict of interests, I focused on dual role management, and multiple systems affiliations loosing sight of how moving across different cultural values invites you to paradoxical positions and the experience of conflicts that might seem impossible to work through without the experience of values compromise. Exploring both experiences from the perspective of a reflective practitioner, I will describe the consulting relationship explaining how this experiences confronted me with different ways to understand the role and contributions of systems psychodynamic consultancy in turbulent environments while challenging traditional management conceptions of competence, incompetence, success, failure, in a difficult journey while reflecting on a painful question: What happens when your professional ethical values are confronted with your own sense of humanity? To conclude I will draw attention to the complex dynamics at place when CSR professionals in the extractive industries are confronted with the reality of working on the field of sustainability, looking to how conscious and unconscious awareness on their impact on existential dilemmas of native communities and larger ecology affects their wellbeing and performance.'