Underscoring social organization including firm centrality in effecting key changes in Philippine society, Center for Research and Communications Foundation, Inc. (CRCFI), the research arm of the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) recently launched its latest research on stakeholder cooperation. Shifting value from “shareholder” to “stakeholder”—that is, greater attention expended to “social stakeholders” has been advanced especially by business ethics literature. CRCFI research pushes this idea further by examining the firm’s stakeholder network of inter-organizational cooperation in the context of the UNESCO Creative Cities.

Here in the Philippines, Baguio City is UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, and Cebu City is UNESCO Creative City of Design. Asked to comment on the research focus, Dr. Elizabeth Urgel, research manager, explains: “We are a research team of six representing disciplinary perspectives from political science, political economy, arts, history and anthropology. We first explore furniture and weaving in Cebu and Baguio, respectively, to describe and thus begin to understand creative industry organization in so far as cooperative relations for urban development are concerned, and our interest is education and skills training. We also want to discover the stakeholder(s) whose cooperation figures significantly in sustaining an artist’s interest and an enterprise’s staying power in the furniture industry.”

Indeed, cooperative relations much more in education and training occupy central importance especially in creative industry organization. Dr. Philip Paje, research team member, comments:

“Human capital takes center stage in developing creative industries. What is the system of stakeholder cooperation? And when this development unfolds in a city, what happens? Surely, local government role becomes premium. Our research offers to broaden perspective as the empirical situation calls for it—meaning, we are examining industry organization in its social context and even our society’s larger issues like poverty and inequality, environmental degradation, globalization, jobs and the pandemic, among others, loom in the background. We have to input these as factors, too.”

And to this, Dr. Laya Boquiren-Gonzales, another research team member, adds: “I examine the arts and culture angle. Our research examines the point where our culture and economy meet. What are the tensions and hopefully, some resolutions?”

Dr. Carmita Icasiano, the anthropologist in the team, shows more concern on the humanistic dimension of the creative enterprise, that is, whether the enterprise is more than just a business or profit-seeking entity as it empowers the workers. Moreover, she believes that the groundwork for cooperation within the industry “needs to start on the level of defining concepts” in order “to encourage participation from serious and competent practitioners.”

CRCFI advances interdisciplinary research to unpack this puzzle of stakeholder cooperation in creative industries at the UNESCO Creative Cities. And recognition for this research is growing as more business firms, government institutions and civil society organizations and associations participate including: Castilex, Obra Cebuana, Mehitabel, Stonesets International, Cebu Fil Veneer, Cebu Furniture Industry Foundation, Cebu Design Week, DTI, DOST, Cooperative Development Authority, Topskill Handicrafts, Narda’s Handwoven Crafts, Aveline’s Cordilleran Handloom, HABI and Creative Baguio City Council, among others.

For funding and other inquiries, email Dr. May Zuleika Salao at [email protected] or Dr. Elizabeth T. Urgel at [email protected].


The Center for Research and Communication Foundation Inc. (CRCFI) is a research and consultancy group that partners with the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), drawing upon UA&P’s considerable human and knowledge resources to meet the research needs of businesses and development agencies across the globe. Find out more about the CRCFI Research Fund: https://crc.uap.asia/2018/08/15/the-crcfi-research-fund-fostering-the-culture-of-research-in-uap/.