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Stakeholder management: a systematic literature review

Matteo Pedrini (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy)
Laura Maria Ferri (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Article publication date: 20 September 2018

Issue publication date: 4 February 2019




The stakeholder theory is a prominent management approach that has primarily been adopted in the past few years. Despite the increase in the theory’s use, a limited number of studies have discussed ways to develop, execute and measure the results of using this strategic approach with stakeholders. This study aims to address this gap in the literature by conducting a systematic review of the stakeholder management process.


Five databases were selected to search articles published from 1985 to 2015. The keywords used were stakeholder management, stakeholder relationship and stakeholder engagement. Starting from 2,457 articles identified using a keyword search, 33 key journal articles were systematically reviewed using both bibliometric and qualitative methods for analysis.


The results highlight that stakeholder management is increasingly embedded in corporate activities, and that the coming of the internet, social networking and Big Data have put more pressure on companies to develop new tools and techniques to manage stakeholders online. In conclusion, synthesizing the findings and developed framework allows the understanding of different streams of research and identifies future steps for research.


While literature reviews are a widespread practice in business studies, only a few more recent reviews use the systematic review methodology that aggregates knowledge using clearly defined processes and criteria. This is the first review on stakeholder management in which the structure is existing knowledge on strategy development, execution and the measurement of performance.



Pedrini, M. and Ferri, L.M. (2019), "Stakeholder management: a systematic literature review", Corporate Governance, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 44-59.



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