Scanning both the academic and popular business literature of the last 40 years puzzles the alert reader. The variety of prescriptions of how to be successful (effective, performing, etc.) 1 Organizational performance, organizational success and organizational effectiveness will be used interchangeably throughout this paper.1 in business is hardly comprehensible: “Being close to the customer,” Total Quality Management, corporate social responsibility, shareholder value maximization, efficient consumer response, management reward systems or employee involvement programs are but a few of the slogans introduced as means to increase organizational effectiveness. Management scholars have made little effort to integrate the various performance-enhancing strategies or to assess them in an orderly manner.
This study classifies organizational strategies by the importance each strategy attaches to different constituencies in the firm’s environment. A number of researchers divide an organization’s environment into various constituency groups and argue that these groups constitute – as providers and recipients of resources – the basis for organizational survival and well-being. Some theoretical schools argue for the foremost importance of responsiveness to certain constituencies while stakeholder theory calls for a – situation-contingent – balance in these responsiveness levels. Given that maximum responsiveness levels to different groups may be limited by an organization’s resource endowment or even counterbalanced, the need exists for a concurrent assessment of these competing claims by jointly evaluating the effect of the respective behaviors towards constituencies on performance. Thus, this study investigates the competing merits of implementing alternative business philosophies (e.g. balanced versus focused responsiveness to constituencies). Such a concurrent assessment provides a “critical test” of multiple, opposing theories rather than testing the merits of one theory (Carlsmith, Ellsworth & Aronson, 1976).
In the high tolerance level applied for this study (be among the top 80% of the industry) only a handful of organizations managed to sustain such a balanced strategy over the whole observation period. Continuously monitoring stakeholder demands and crafting suitable responsiveness strategies must therefore be a focus of successful business strategies. While such behavior may not be a sufficient explanation for organizational success, it certainly is a necessary one.
Koll, O. (2003), "STAKEHOLDER VALUE CREATION AND FIRM SUCCESS", Woodside, A.G. (Ed.) Evaluating Marketing Actions and Outcomes (Advances in Business Marketing and Purchasing, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 141-262. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1069-0964(03)12004-2
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2003, Emerald Group Publishing Limited