Stakeholder Management: Volume 1

Cover of Stakeholder Management
Subject:

Table of contents

(13 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xiii
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Abstract

This chapter suggests that there are at least five main challenges to the development of stakeholder theory as it currently stands. We need more research on understanding what counts as the total performance of a business; accounting for stakeholders rather than accounting only for investors; explaining real stakeholder behavior; formulating smart public policy given stakeholder theory; and rethinking the basics of ethical theory. The chapter explains the issues involved in each challenge and suggests ways to meet the challenge. It is a preliminary report of research in progress as well as a blueprint for how others may join the conversation to develop a more useful stakeholder theory.

Abstract

Stakeholder theory has been accused of being an umbrella concept rather than a distinct theory per se. Recognizing the stakeholder concept as an essentially contested concept subject to multiple competing interpretations, this chapter presents a systematic meta-level conceptual analysis. This chapter aims to contribute to the optimal development of stakeholder theory by clarifying the conceptual confusion surrounding its central construct to help prevent stakeholder theory from developing into an accumulation of disparate ideas. Multi-contextual contributions to stakeholder theory are analysed via an unparalleled bounded systematic review of 593 stakeholder definitions. Determinants of the stakeholder concept have been deconstructed and analysed to establish how definitional variables relate to variants of stakeholder theory. These determinants have been sorted, filtered and ordered to produce a comprehensive, multi-dimensional classification of stakeholder theory based on four hyponyms which relate to 16 definitional categories. The classification was then subjected to empirical testing with positive results. This evaluation of the stakeholder concept illustrates how contributions are aligned and interrelated, thereby prescribing what is acceptable (unacceptable) as inclusion within stakeholder theory. An invaluable overview of what we know about stakeholder theory is presented within a single model, drawing the conclusion that stakeholder theory is indeed a single theory.

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Abstract

Theories of management require normative justification; that is, they rely on some conception of what is morally good, right, and just. This chapter examines some of the normative reasons for adopting a stakeholder theory of management and for rejecting the once, and perhaps still, “dominant” shareholder-centric approach. This chapter then surveys some of the prominent “normative cores” that are used to ground stakeholder theory, that is, Kantian, contractarian, feminist ethics, and ethical pragmatism, and the moral obligations that each normative approach generates. Some pressing questions are raised with respect to each normative approach. To what extent ought we to recognize imperfect obligations to shareholders? Are contractarian hypernorms morally substantive? How exactly should we care about stakeholders, and is care even an appropriate attitudinal response? Without some commitment to objective ethical standards, how can pragmatists resolve stakeholder conflict?

Abstract

This chapter assembles the key literature on value creation for consideration in relationship to stakeholder theory. The literature review identifies and explains the core topics concerning value creation and related ideas. The purpose is to stimulate research into the theory, practice, and social consequences of value creation in a stakeholder management framework. The construct of “value” lacks theoretical precision and empirical verification. The most fundamental and disputed question addressed is which value approach for the firm best contributes to overall (aggregate) social welfare. The vital issue is whether the managerial stakeholder theory is superior, at long-run value creation for multiple stakeholders including society at large, to the conventional agency theory. Business executives and directors are the ones who choose between agency and stakeholder approaches to management. Their actions influence organizational and social outcomes. Research is limited to a literature review, followed by a discussion of the likely role of value creation theory in future stakeholder research. The chapter first defines value. The basic approach is then to focus on key topics in the relevant literature. The last section addresses the role of value creation theory in future stakeholder research.

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Abstract

The argument that applications of social network research tools and theories to stakeholder research will advance our understanding of how organizations should and do interact with their stakeholders and how stakeholders influence organizations has been well known for over 15 years. However, the integration of social network analysis and stakeholder research has been limited to date. To motivate stakeholder network research, I illustrate the similarities and complementarities between these research streams, arguing that the social network perspective tackles weaknesses in stakeholder models supporting the creation of more fruitful models of organization–stakeholder environments. I illustrate how stakeholder power and legitimacy, and focal organization obligations can be better modeled theoretically and measured empirically using social network concepts and techniques.

Abstract

In this chapter, we update stakeholder salience research using the new lens of stakeholder work: the purposive processes of organization aimed at being aware of, identifying, understanding, prioritizing, and engaging stakeholders. Specifically, we focus on stakeholder prioritization work — primarily as represented by the stakeholder salience model — and discuss contributions, shortcomings, and possibilities for this literature. We suggest that future research focus on stakeholder inclusivity, the complexity of prioritization work within intra-corporate markets, the integration of stakeholder prioritization with other forms of stakeholder work, and the development of managerial tools for multiobjective decision making within the strategic management context.

Abstract

Stakeholder thinking has contributed considerably to the organizational literature by demonstrating the significance of the environment in managing organizations. Stakeholders affect and are affected by organizations’ daily operations and decisions. They have varied and often conflicting interests, making it necessary for managers and organizations to know who they are as well as their attributes. Consequently, Mitchell et al. (1997) developed the stakeholder salience theory to help managers and organizations identify the power of certain stakeholders and their salience to the organization. With a few exceptions, the mainstream stakeholder salience theory is in many ways still largely static, short-term oriented, and firm-centered. The aim of this paper is to revisit certain conformist assumptions concerning the role of marginalized stakeholders, or “dormant” stakeholders, in stakeholder thinking. Overall, this chapter is a call to a new conceptualization of stakeholders that reintroduces stakeholder dynamics at the core of stakeholder thinking to overcome its restrictive shortcomings. We argue that managing stakeholder relationships is not simply meeting stakeholder demands but also involves taking into account the long-term dynamics of stakeholder interactions.

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Abstract

Stakeholders are typically described as those who may affect or be affected by the actions of a firm. The purpose of this chapter is to present an argument that stakeholder theory should pay specific regard to what I term marginal stakeholders, that is, parties affected by a firm’s actions but who nevertheless have no actual or foreseeable influence to shape its strategic goals. Several key proponents of stakeholder theory maintain that these groups are not legitimate stakeholders and therefore do not warrant consideration. For example, marginal groups are routinely excluded from discussions of stakeholder fairness. Alternatively, theorists presume that advocates with leverage will protect these groups, or appeals to human rights will be sufficient. In contrast, I contend that there are cases where the firm has benefitted, but identifiable and discrete stakeholders have been negatively affected by corporate action in an environment where rights are ignored or there is no significant legal recourse. Drawing on foundational literature on fairness and insights from social psychology, I conclude that fully realized stakeholder theory means that a corporation has to consider its duties to all those affected by the impact of a firm, including the powerless.

Abstract

Stakeholders often engage in actions aimed at either benefitting or punishing firms for their behaviour. Such behaviours can have very serious implications for various types of firm performance, including financial performance. Though one might expect that the investigation of possible precursors of such “stakeholder action” would be a priority of researchers in stakeholder theory, to date research within the stakeholder literature directed towards understanding stakeholder behaviour has been somewhat scarce. In this chapter, I present common themes and assumptions that prevail in the existing research on stakeholder action, identify certain important questions concerning such assumptions and suggest avenues for future research on stakeholder behaviour.

Abstract

This chapter highlights some of the tensions and most promising points of convergence between the strategic management and stakeholder theory literatures. We briefly examine the early development of both areas, identifying some of the background assumptions and choices that informed how the fields evolved, and how these factors led the two fields to engage in scholarly pursuits that seldom intersected for a period of years, followed by a renewal of interest among strategists in themes that are central to stakeholder theory. From this discussion, we develop a larger agenda with specific topics as examples of areas that offer promise for integrative research that can advance knowledge in both fields. Our vision of the future is one in which the larger aspirations of scholars in strategy and stakeholder theory are more fully realized with human purposes, broadly defined, as the focal point.

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Index

Pages 277-286
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Cover of Stakeholder Management
DOI
10.1108/S2514-175920171
Publication date
2017-05-23
Book series
Business and Society 360
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78714-408-8
eISBN
978-1-78714-407-1
Book series ISSN
2514-1759