Shell, Nigeria and the Ogoni. A study in unsustainable development

III. Analysis and implications of royal dutch/shell group strategy

David Wheeler*, René Rechtman, Heike Fabig, Richard Boele

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


In the first two papers of this trilogy we explored the history of the Royal Dutch/Shell group both internationally and locally in Nigeria. We desribed a catastrophic failure in relations with the NGOs and opinion formers more globally. In response to these events Shell embarked on a revision of its business principles and initiated a multi-million dollar exercise in stakeholder outreach and communication. We also explored the limitations of a purely instrumental approach to 'stakeholder management' in Nigeria and suggested that a rights-based approach might provide a more useful framework for managing relationships and achieving reconciliation between Shell and the Ogoni. In this third paper of the trilogy we explore Shell's current approach to strategy formulation and implementation in the context of what this means for Shell's ability to pursue the ideal of sustainable development. We apply two models for testing the level of integration of business strategy with sustainability and we observe that, whilst Shell's business principles and corporate strategy now embrace notions of market sensitivity and internal and external accountability to an unprecedented degree, the company has yet to maximize opportunities arising from its approach to sustainability and stakeholder responsiveness at the business unit level in Nigeria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-196
Number of pages20
JournalSustainable Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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