Networks, partnerships and corporate social responsibility in Poland: Case study of the Autokreacja Association
Against a background of severe economic and social problems during Poland’s transition to the market economy, a group of company managers from British Petroleum Polska, Sheraton, ABB and Commercial Union formed the Autokreacja Association in 2002. The association aims to promote and support responsible business practices that benefit both businesses and society, while helping to achieve social, economic and environmentally sustainable development. As part of this aim, it offers intensive training programmes to disadvantaged, unemployed young people to improve their chances of finding work.
In 1995, the Polish section of the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), with major support from a range of companies including Levi Strauss, DHL, Xerox and Smirnoff, initiated the Autokreacja (meaning ‘self-creation’) programme. The initiative is based on a similar programme called the Recharge Programme, run by the Prince’s Trust in the United Kingdom, and consists of a series of one-week courses in which participants receive intensive training aimed at improving their employability. The IBLF became involved in promoting community economic development in 1993, at a time when Poland was facing severe economic and social problems in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its difficult transition to the market economy and to democracy.
In 2002, the Autokreacja Association was formed by a group of company managers from BP Polska, Sheraton, ABB and Commercial Union, all of whom have been active in running the association since its inception. The managers wanted to expand the Autokreacja programme by increasing the frequency of the training courses and by making the programme available nationwide. The programme focuses on the training of disadvantaged, unemployed young people, building their confidence and increasing their chances of finding work or of accessing further training. The courses are organised and run by representatives from major international companies located in Poland.
Essentially, the association’s mission is to promote and support responsible business practices that benefit both businesses and society and which help to achieve social, economic and environmentally sustainable development. The network of companies, which includes large multinational companies such as BP, Nestlé and Procter&Gamble, and which involves partnerships with local labour offices and NGOs, constitutes the building blocks of the Autokreacja programme and also funds the training courses.
Case study topics
This case study outlines the development, implementation and results of the innovative Autokreacja programme in Poland, by drawing on several company experiences. In particular, the case study focuses on the following aspects:
- the employment situation in Poland and across the country’s regions;
- Poland’s approach to restructuring and the evolving role of social dialogue in restructuring processes, which signals a gradual move towards cooperation rather than conflict;
- the need for alternative approaches to handling restructuring processes, in order to successfully combat increasing unemployment arising from restructuring activities in the country;
- an outline of the Autokreacja network of companies, including organisational background, target audience and participants and provisions of the programme, as well as results and future perspectives;
- the main barriers to achieving the programme’s goals, along with strengths of the programme and opportunities for future development;
- the main lessons learnt from the programme, in particular the importance of selecting participants who are the most motivated to take part in the programme and the need to tailor courses to participants’ specific needs.
EMCC: Key messages
EMCC: Access Information
The case study can be downloaded, free of charge, as a PDF file by clicking on the link below.
This case study outlines the socioeconomic background to and the main characteristics of the Autokreacja Association’s programme in Poland: an intensive training programme for young people aimed at improving their chances of finding a job. The case study underlines important lessons learnt from this initiative, in particular the importance of the participant’s motivation as a key to success, as well as the need for tailoring the programme’s courses to the specific needs of the participants.