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Strategic stakeholder dialogues: a discursive perspective on relationship building

Trine Susanne Johansen (Business Communication, Business and Social Science, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Anne Ellerup Nielsen (Business Communication, Business and Social Science, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 9 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Societal developments and stakeholder awareness place responsibility and legitimacy high on corporate agendas. Increased awareness heightens focus on stakeholder relations and dialogue as key aspects in corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate identity and corporate communication scholarship, but the question remains how can dialogue be initiated and maintained? The purpose of this paper is to establish a framework for conceptualizing dialogue.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a review of CSR, corporate identity, corporate communication and stakeholder literature, a framework is developed taking into account the different stakes held by key stakeholder groups, i.e. consumers, investors, employees, non‐governmental organization and suppliers. Based on the discursive terms of form and script, we argue that different stakes condition different dialogical types.

Findings

The paper argues that the stakeholder orientations of the CSR, corporate identity and corporate communication disciplines can aid in strengthening dialogue. It is thus suggested that dialogue may be strengthened by constructing a framework which links the stakes held by key stakeholder groups to specific dialogue forms and scripts.

Practical implications

The practical implication of articulating stakeholder dialogue as scripted interaction is that organizations seeking to engage stakeholders strategically must understand and respect conventions and expectations.

Originality/value

The paper's contribution is to expand the notion of dialogue within communication research and to provide organizations with a framework for understanding stakeholder involvement in identity relevant issues of responsibility and legitimacy.

Keywords

Citation

Susanne Johansen, T. and Ellerup Nielsen, A. (2011), "Strategic stakeholder dialogues: a discursive perspective on relationship building", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 204-217. https://doi.org/10.1108/13563281111156871

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited