Universidad San Andrés Argentina
Autopistas del Sol (AUSOL) was a company that had started off as a partnership forged in 1994, when it was commissioned, through a public bidding process, to build and manage two of the main highways into the Buenos Aires City. SES Foundation was a nonprofit organization informally created in 1998 -and formally established in 2000- by a group of professionals who developed informal educational programs to promote poor youths’ social inclusion. One of its more salient programs involved a number of “Community Study Groups” (CSGs,) an initiative SES carried out with AUSOL to boost schooling in two of the neighborhoods surrounding one of the highways.
This case takes place in late 2001 –that is, just a few months before Argentina succumbed to a severe crisis. It focuses on the potential changes and risks entailed for the CSG program by AUSOL’s decision to expand its alliance with SES by incorporating other sponsoring companies. While this strategy intended to secure program continuity, it also brought about a series of challenges for both organizations.
Also, the case allows for the analysis of how AUSOL’s business affected its ties to the community and how the company understood, early on, its need to build a relationship with the various stakeholders involved. In addition, it provides a forum to discuss some of the challenges faced by private companies managing public services.
Identifying problems in a timely manner, understanding social demands to businesses negatively affecting certain groups in the communities where they operate, spotting opportunities and risks involved in community relations are some of the issues addressed in this case.
Additionally, this case may be useful to discuss the following issues:
As it shows how forging ties with the community tends to follow business needs, the case is suitable for the analysis of topics such as strategic management and change processes, corporate strategic approaches, and business opportunities and challenges posed by social contexts. It is recommended for courses focusing on management strategies.