Oil India Ltd.'s CSR Dilemma: Balancing community and business

Vidhi Chaudhri*, Asha Kaul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


On February 18, 2019, Utpal Bora (Chairman and Managing Director; hereinafter CMD) and Biswajit Roy (Director, Human Resources & Business Development; henceforth HRBD), Oil India Ltd. (hereafter, OIL), hung up on another long phone call. Sitting at the OIL Corporate Head Office in Delhi, they had just received unsettling news. 2,500 km away, the field headquarters at Duliajan, Assam, had been subjected to yet another blockade. This time, members of several student unions had combined forces with local residents to block the entry of employees to OIL premises. Their actions were allegedly provoked by their demand for OIL to construct a road. This was only one of nearly 60 demands that the company had faced in the past few months from different pressure groups.

On any given day, the Public Affairs Department at OIL Duliajan interacted with over 400 pressure groups. From property damage and assault, to demonstrations and threats to oil pilfering and sabotage of oil pipelines, OIL had witnessed all sorts of operational challenges in the last few years. What should OIL do to address and possibly mitigate operational interruptions? In spite of multiple interventions for society at all levels in the form of corporate social responsibility (CSR), why was OIL a constant target of protests, vandalism, and physical violence? Had OIL’s CSR efforts unintentionally created a culture of dependency were the questions haunting Roy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-307
Number of pages19
JournalAsian Case Research Journal
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

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