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Legitimizing industry and multi-sectoral regulation of cumulative impacts: A comparison of mining and energy development in Athabasca, Canada and the Hunter Valley, Australia


  • Boutilier, Robert G.
  • Black, Leeora


The Alberta oil sands industry and the New South Wales coal industry both faced controversies related to their cumulative impacts. In an attempt to generate hypotheses, we compared their attempts to maintain legitimacy, in its various aspects, for both their industries and the regulatory regimes that evolved as the controversies persisted. Both the existing literature and the two cases suggest that greater use of multi-sectoral stakeholder forums for the governance of cumulative impacts can bolster the legitimacy of both the industry and its regulatory regime, including those aspects handled through self-regulation. The cases suggested the additional hypotheses that (a) the importance of the decisions allocated to the multi-stakeholder regulatory forum affects legitimacy perceptions generally, and (b) the multi-stakeholder approach to regulation does little to bolster legitimacy when stakeholders include activists who are more interested in transnational issues than local cumulative impacts.

Suggested Citation

  • Boutilier, Robert G. & Black, Leeora, 2013. "Legitimizing industry and multi-sectoral regulation of cumulative impacts: A comparison of mining and energy development in Athabasca, Canada and the Hunter Valley, Australia," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 696-703.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:38:y:2013:i:4:p:696-703 DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2013.02.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Donald Schepers, 2010. "Challenges to Legitimacy at the Forest Stewardship Council," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 92(2), pages 279-290, March.
    2. Helena Tolkki & Arto Haveri & Jenni Airaksinen & Emilia Valkonen, 2011. "Governance in Regional Development—Between Regulation and Self-regulation," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 313-333, December.
    3. Karin Bäckstrand, 2008. "Accountability of Networked Climate Governance: The Rise of Transnational Climate Partnerships," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 8(3), pages 74-102, August.
    4. Phil Mcmanus, 2008. "Mines, Wines and Thoroughbreds: Towards Regional Sustainability in the Upper Hunter, Australia," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(9), pages 1275-1290.
    5. Kolstad, Ivar & Wiig, Arne, 2009. "Is Transparency the Key to Reducing Corruption in Resource-Rich Countries?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 521-532, March.
    6. Karan Sonpar & Federica Pazzaglia & Jurgita Kornijenko, 2010. "The Paradox and Constraints of Legitimacy," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 1-21, August.
    7. Julia Roloff, 2008. "Learning from Multi-Stakeholder Networks: Issue-Focussed Stakeholder Management," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 82(1), pages 233-250, September.
    8. Hays, C. E. & Hays, S. P. & DeVille, J. O. & Mulhall, P. F., 2000. "Capacity for effectiveness: the relationship between coalition structure and community impact," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 373-379, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Franks, Daniel M. & Brereton, David & Moran, Chris J., 2013. "The cumulative dimensions of impact in resource regions," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 640-647.

    More about this item


    M14; Legitimacy; Stakeholder relations; Multi-sectoral governance; Oil sands; Coal mining; Cumulative effects assessment and management (CEAM);

    JEL classification:

    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility


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