Modelling bi‐directional research: a fresh approach to stakeholder theory

Kevin Money (The John Madejski Centre for Reputation, Henley Business School at the University of Reading, Henley‐on‐Thames, UK)
Carola Hillenbrand (The John Madejski Centre for Reputation, Henley Business School at the University of Reading, Henley‐on‐Thames, UK)
Ian Hunter (Department of Management and International Business, University of Auckland Business School, Auckland, New Zealand)
Arthur G. Money (Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Publication date: 17 February 2012



While Freeman's stakeholder management approach has attracted much attention from both scholars and practitioners, little empirical work has considered the interconnectedness of organisational perspectives and stakeholder perspectives. The purpose of this paper is to respond to this gap by developing and empirically testing a bi‐directional model of organisation/stakeholder relationships.


A conceptual framework is developed that integrates how stakeholders are affected by organisations with how they affect organisations. Quantitative data relating to both sides of the relationship are obtained from 700 customers of a European service organisation and analysed using partial least squares structural equation modelling technique.


The findings provide empirical support for the notion of mutual dependency between organisations and stakeholders as advocated by stakeholder theorists. The results suggest that the way stakeholders relate to organisations is dependent on how organisations relate to stakeholders.


The study is original on two fronts: first, it provides a framework and process that can be used by researchers to model bi‐directional research with other stakeholder groups and in different contexts. Second, the study presents an example application of bi‐directional research by empirically linking organisational and stakeholder expectations in the case of customers of a UK service organisation.



Money, K., Hillenbrand, C., Hunter, I. and Money, A. (2012), "Modelling bi‐directional research: a fresh approach to stakeholder theory", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 5-24.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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