Managerial Attitudes toward a Stakeholder Prominence within a Southeast Asia Context: Volume 19


Table of contents

(15 chapters)

This study seeks to elicit “organisational manager” and “managerial student” attitudes in Australia, China, and Indonesia, toward the (1) legitimacy, (2) power, and (3) urgency of selected stakeholders.1 The three attributes constitute stakeholder “prominence” or “salience”, and are based on a stakeholder typology model by Mitchell, Agle, and Wood (1997), using a methodology proposed by Hosseini and Brenner (1992) to generate value-matrix weights.

This chapter examines the literature surrounding stakeholder theory. Section 2.2 outlines the nature of what is a stakeholder, whereas Section 2.3 overviews the literature on social accounting and reporting and details how it served as an antecedent to the specific literature on stakeholder management. Section 2.4 covers the mainstream literature on stakeholder management by examining the three distinct categories of stakeholder literature as outlined by Donaldson and Preston (1995): (1) descriptive; (2) instrumental; and (3) normative. The normative category includes a discussion on how the theory's fundamental aspects have been rejected outright by some authors, as a basis for a theory of the firm, due to the perceived paradox in relation to the firm's multi-fiduciary duty beyond the shareholder. Section 2.5 summarises the literature to date and outlines its main limitations, including the primary emphasis on seeking to normatively ground the theory. Section 2.6 then provides the conclusions with a table summarising the research objectives and outcomes.

The aim of this chapter is to outline the research methodology for the study. Section 3.2 will discuss how a positive stakeholder theory can be formulated against the contrasting philosophies of moral universals and moral relativism. The aim of this section is to explain how stakeholder claims such as employee health and safety and environmental protection represent moral universals (fundamental ethical norms) and how differences in their perceived importance have less to do with claims of moral relativism and more to do with economic and social advancement, which can thwart the fulfilment of stakeholder objectives. The conflicting philosophies can hinder a normative approach to stakeholder theory in an international context and highlight the importance of a positive theory of the firm that can explain and predict stakeholder development in different contexts.

What has emerged from the first three chapters has been the increasingly global environment within which organisations operate. This is particularly so in the Asia-Pacific region, which due to its continued urbanisation, is undergoing profound economic and social change. Despite stakeholder theory offering a new perspective on the traditional principal–agent relationship that had existed implicitly between both the manager and “shareholder” and the manager and “debtholder”, little has been done theoretically to explain and predict differences in “stakeholder” prominence across countries that embody different economic and social levels of development. As mentioned in Chapter 3, a Positive Stakeholder Theory approach, which seeks to understand stakeholder prominence through an AHP, is a means by which to enrich stakeholder theory beyond the confines of the prescriptive.

This chapter presents the results of the study, both in graphical and tabular format, based on the AHP for determining stakeholder prominence, along with ANOVA and multiple comparison tests that were outlined in Sections 3.8–3.10. Section 5.2 examines the response rate for the study across each of the three countries. Section 5.3 outlines details of how the data were scored and analysed for the stakeholder prominence questions. It describes how stakeholders were classified into classes based on the results of the data analysis. Section 5.4 provides descriptive sample statistics of the study based on sex, age, birth, culture, education, occupation, and multi-national status. Not all of these demographic variables were used for analysis in the study, only country (source of the data, not birth) and occupation. Section 5.5 analyses results of stakeholder prominence over all three stakeholder attributes (legitimacy, power, and urgency) by the country of origin. These include multivariate tests to indicate the significance of differences between the results for countries overall, and Bonferroni tests for significant differences between individual countries, which were undertaken through the SPSS software package. This was also undertaken for occupation in Section 5.6.

The objective of this chapter is to outline the implications of the results of the study of stakeholder theory and managerial strategy. The difference in stakeholder salience between countries has implications for the strategic management of organisations, whether their operations are local or multinational. The differing perceptions of legitimacy, power, and urgency accorded to the various stakeholders within the study would appear to indicate that not all stakeholders are perceived equally across different geographical contexts. Stakeholders, as well as the organisations with which they are associated, are shaped by social, political, and economic forces. The effect of culture on organisational management has been documented extensively in previous literature.

The objective of this final chapter is to summarise the entire study through an overview of each chapter, and provide an analysis of the limitations and areas of future research. Section 7.2 provides the summary, whereas Section 7.3 outlines some of the limitations of the study, including the model itself and its assumptions, the statistical measure utilised, and the problems with the survey including the response rate. Section 7.5 highlights the potential future areas of research within stakeholder theory.

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Studies in Managerial and Financial Accounting
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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