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Rethinking the salience of not-for-profit and for-profit stakeholders of a firm

Shahzad Khurram (Air University School of Management, Air University Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan)
Florent Pestre (RITM, University of Paris-Sud, Saclay, France)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




Although Mitchell et al. (1997) recognize salience attributes as variables, the salience framework based on a dichotomous representation of salience attributes does not explain why, in some instances, a latent stakeholder is assigned more salience than a definitive stakeholder. This paper explains this riddle by bringing the debate to the organizational population level and suggests a new perspective for understanding the process of stakeholder identification and prioritization.


The authors compare two organizational populations, i.e. “for-profit and not-for-profit” which are distinguishable from one another based on the dominant institutional logic that each endorses. The authors, therefore, mobilize the institutional theory and bring the debate of the stakeholder salience to the organizational population level.


The authors propose that members of an organizational population endorsing similar institutional logic develop salience attributes of similar potential values, which are radically different from those of the members of other organizational populations; these potential values act as precursors that determine the perceived values of salience attributes for a manager; and dominant and recessive salience attributes work, at the organizational population level, to determine stakeholder prioritization.


The original model of Mitchell et al. (1997) has been cited more than 9,000 times, but the process of stakeholder evaluation remains a black box (Bundy et al., 2013; Tashman and Raelin, 2013). This paper contributes to the debate and suggests a change in the level of analysis (to the organizational population) and a focus on the institutional logic perspective.



Khurram, S. and Pestre, F. (2017), "Rethinking the salience of not-for-profit and for-profit stakeholders of a firm", Society and Business Review, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 136-151.



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