Robert Boutilier, PhD

Dr. Robert Boutilier is a social research consultant and a senior associate of the of the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, Melbourne. He specializes in relations among the extractive industries, communities, governments and civil society. His current work applies concepts like the social license, discourse contests, the curse of natural resources, and network governance to the socio-political challenges organizations face in promoting sustainable development, particularly in terms of poverty reduction and community development.

Dr. Boutilier has published three books and over a dozen scholarly articles and book chapters on topics in development economics, issues management, social psychology, and stakeholder relations. Journals in which he has published include Extactive Industries and Society, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, International Resource Journal, Journal of Business Ethics, the Journal of Corporate Citizenship, and Resources Policy.

Dr. Boutilier has conducted research and workshop on community and stakeholder relations in over 20 countries. He developed a validated measure of the social licence and has used it at over 50 infrastructure and mining projects on four continents in nine languages. Dr. Boutilier also advises agent-based model developers on how to simulate the socio-political dynamics affecting resource and infrastructure projects.

By identifying ‘network-aware’ and ‘discourse-aware’ ways to overcome phenomena like factionalized community in-fighting, self-serving community elites, and community dependence on a company, Dr. Boutilier’s approach yields development scenarios that promote a balanced pattern of social capital and the subsequent sharing of all the other ‘capitals’.