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Crises conducting stakeholder salience: shifts in the evolution of private universities’ governance in Latin America

Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez (Department of Management, Universidad EAFIT, Medellin, Colombia)
Miguel Cordova (Department of Management, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, Lima, Peru)
Michel Hermans (IAE Business School, Universidad Austral, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Karla Maria Nava-Aguirre (International Business at Business School, Universidad de Monterrey, San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico)
Fabiola Monje-Cueto (Universidad Privada Boliviana, Cochabamba, Bolivia)
Santiago Mingo (Escuela de Negocios, Universidad Adolfo Ibanez, Santiago, Chile)
Santiago Tobon (Center for Research in Economics and Finance (CIEF), Universidad EAFIT, Medellin, Colombia)
Carlos Adrian Rodriguez (Department of Management, INCAE Business School Walter Kissling Gam Campus Alajuela, Alajuela, Costa Rica)
Erica Helena Salvaj (Facultad de Economía y Negocios, Department of Management and Strategy, Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile)
Dinorá Eliete Floriani (Universidade do Vale do Itajai (UNIVALI) - PPA/PMPGIL - Itajai (SC), Brazil)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Article publication date: 18 May 2021

Issue publication date: 22 September 2021




This study aims to build on embedded approaches to stakeholder management and examines how organizational decision-makers consider social responsibility toward proximal stakeholders in crises that encompass an entire system of stakeholder relationships.


Within a criterion-based sample of eight Latin American private universities, this paper develops in-depth exploratory case studies to examine the prioritization of stakeholders in higher education institutions’ decision-making during the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis.


Contrary to the notion that during crises organizations prioritize stakeholders that provide resources that are critical to survival, this study finds that in contextual crises stakeholder management is informed by social responsibility. In addition, the findings suggest that crises may be tipping points for changes toward mission-driven approaches to governance.

Practical implications

Acknowledging the roles of social responsibility and proximity in stakeholder management during contextual crises allows for more informed governance of organizations that face disruptions in their system of stakeholder relations.


This study contributes unique insights into the decision-maker’s prioritization of stakeholders during the COVID-19 crisis. The uncertainty associated with the emerging “new normal” allowed for an extreme test of socially embedded versus resource-oriented approaches to stakeholder management.



The authors would like to thank Professor Eweje and the anonymous reviewers of their manuscript for their constructive feedback. Moreover, authors are grateful to their Universities’ Authorities, faculty and staff for sharing information and accepting their requests for interviews at a time when they needed to focus on other stakeholders.


Gonzalez-Perez, M.A., Cordova, M., Hermans, M., Nava-Aguirre, K.M., Monje-Cueto, F., Mingo, S., Tobon, S., Rodriguez, C.A., Salvaj, E.H. and Floriani, D.E. (2021), "Crises conducting stakeholder salience: shifts in the evolution of private universities’ governance in Latin America", Corporate Governance, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 1194-1214.



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