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Unfolding Stakeholder Thinking 2: Relationships, Communication, Reporting and Performance

Series: Unfolding Stakeholder Thinking Volume: 2

By: J Andriof

260 pages, 23.4cm 260 Cloth

Greenleaf Publishing

Hardback | Dec 2003 | #141177 | ISBN: 1874719535
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £46.50 $57/€52 approx

About this book

This book is the companion to "Unfolding Stakeholder Thinking: Theory, Responsibility and Engagement", which examined many emerging theoretical and normative issues and was released to acclaim in October 2002. "Unfolding Stakeholder Thinking 2" collects a series of essays by leading researchers worldwide to focus on the practice of stakeholder engagement in terms of relationship management, communication, reporting and performance. As stakeholder relationships and business in society have become increasingly central to the unfolding of stakeholder thinking, important new topics have begun to take centre stage in both the worlds of practice and academia. The first part of the book makes clear that simply engaging with stakeholders is insufficient to build successful stakeholder strategies. Companies, considered as the focal entity in a relationship, also need to actively communicate with stakeholders and manage their relationships. Dialogue is essential but can only be useful if companies listen to the messages that stakeholders are sending them. It is also essential to understand the role of power and influence in stakeholder engagement strategies especially if partnerships or collaborations emerge from the relationships that are engendered. The book examines a wide range of corporate-NGO collaborations to determine what makes them effective--and what makes them fail. Conflict management in stakeholder alliances is also discussed. The second part of the book addresses the critically important element of emerging schemes for the assessment, measurement and reporting of business in society and relationships involving stakeholders. A variety of current approaches to stakeholder assessment and reporting are discussed here including social auditing and sustainability reporting. The evolution of stakeholder thinking has led to a new view of the firm as an organism embedded in a complex web of relationships with other organisms. The role of management becomes immensely more challenging, when stakeholders are no longer seen as simply the objects of managerial action but rather as subjects with their own objectives and purposes. This book captures the complexity of managing relationships with stakeholders and will provide both practitioners and researchers with a wealth of information on the benefits and consequences of this practice.

Fellow tolerators of Matrix Reloaded should rest assured that this year's offering from Andriof, Waddock, Husted and Sutherland Rahman is no sequel, but is instead the long anticipated completion of the picture sketched out last year in Unfolding Stakeholder Thinking (UST1). UST1 ... analyses justifications for stakeholder orientation and looks at ways in which stakeholder-oriented behaviour can be embedded in the firm. It is in the exploration of stakeholder engagement within a dynamic systems view of corporate behaviour that the first volume excels. Proponents of comprehensive and rigidly applied global standards will find a worthy counterpoint in the fifth chapter, which is on negotiated order, and in the subsequent chapters, which place stakeholder processes at the heart of a living system of relationships in which all participants--including stakeholders--have responsibilities. UST2 remains as theoretical as UST1. This is a compliment. You cannot decry the absence of a clear training path for CR professionals and then fault a work that attempts to fill this void of conceptual understanding. Theory is not a synonym for impractical, and stakeholder processes form the heart of CR practice by providing a basis on which to define standards of behaviour and then to monitor and report against those expectations. The articles compiled in this second volume assert the uncontroversial idea that stakeholder dialogue is not merely a mechanism for venting stakeholder frustration and communicating the firm's PR line but instead needs to be viewed as an integral part of the governance structure of the firm. The collection begins by recounting the Bangladesh child labour fiasco and in so doing sets out the case for the importance of bringing definition and understanding to the dialogue process itself, beyond glib acceptance of its importance. Only a real understanding of stakeholder concerns and the motivation to be responsive to them will avoid the situation in Bangladesh in which western NGO organisational objectives were found to take precedence over local stakeholder concerns. In that case, children were fired from garment factories following western stakeholder pressure despite 'the harsh reality that children need to work to survive' in that country. The qualities of such a dialogue are explored throughout the collection in depth and with a welcome emphasis on real world examples. Difficult issues are raised, such as the problem of the cacophony of multiple stakeholder voices in a truly inclusive approach, and the fact that the mere act of dialogue, let alone partnership, may represent a threat to the identity of those within stakeholder communities and the company itself. Moreover, there is competition between stakeholders, as well as between the stakeholder and the firm. The case study of the radioactive recycled metals industry suggests that 'at least for any single given period, [this dynamic] is a zero sum game and large benefits for one stakeholder come at the expense of another'. Given that stakeholder engagement amounts to a negotiation, the role of power and the problem of the power imbalances are pivotal and are explored here. UST2 raises many issues and does not always address them. In particular, I would have liked to gain more insight into how power imbalances between different groups are successfully mediated, including the potential for the involvement of NGOs. There are clearly many avenues for further research. The fact that the book leaves you with a sense that there is still much left to answer is a feature of the dynamism of the field and the boundary testing nature of the analyses included. If you wish to keep pace with the developments of thought reflecting this core area of your practice, this book and its companion are a great place to start, Andrew Newton, Ethical Corporation


Foreword; Dr Andreas Pohlmann, Chief Administrative Officer, Celanese AG; Introduction; Sandra Sutherland Rahman, Framingham State College, USA; Sandra Waddock, Boston College, Carroll School of Management, USA; Jorg Andriof, Celanese AG, Germany; Warwick Business School, UK; Bryan Husted, ITESM/Instituto De Empresa, Mexico; Part 1; Stakeholder communication and relationship management; ; 1. Stakeholder discourse and critical-frame analysis: the case of child labour in Bangladesh; Sandra Sutherland Rahman, Framingham State College, USA; 2. Are you talking to me? Stakeholder communication and the risks and rewards of dialogue; Andrew Crane, University of Nottingham, UK; Sharon Livesey, Fordham University, USA; 3. Talking for change? Reflections on effective stakeholder dialogue; Jem Bendell,; 4. Stakeholder influences in developing a sustainability culture within the UK biotechnology sector; Aharon Factor, Aarhus School of Business, Denmark; 5. Power and social behaviour: a structuration approach to stakeholder networks; Stephanie Welcomer, University of Maine, USA; Philip L. Cochran, Smeal College of Business, USA; Virginia W. Gerde, University of New Mexico, USA; 6. State of the union: NGO-business partnership stakeholders; Jonathan Cohen, AccountAbility, UK; 7. Stakeholders for environmental strategies: the case of the emerging industry in radioactive scrap metal treatment; Bruce W. Clemens and Scott R. Gallagher, James Madison University, USA; 8. Re-examining the concept of 'stakeholder management'; Michael E. Johnson-Cramer, Boston University School of Management, USA; Shawn L. Berman, Santa Clara University, USA; James E. Post, Boston University School of Management, USA; 9. Stakeholders and conflict management: corporate perspectives on collaborative approaches; Julia Robbins, independent consultant, Canada; 10. Managing corporate stakeholders: subjecting Miles's 1987 data-collection framework to tests of validation; James Weber, Duquesne University, USA; David M. Wasieleski, University of Pittsburgh, USA; Part 2; Stakeholder performance and reporting; 11. Approaches to stakeholder performance and reporting: an investor's perspective. Investigating how sustainable companies deliver value to shareholders; Michael J. King, Innovys, UK; 12. Top managers and institutional stakeholders: a test of two models of adaptation and performance; Michael V. Russo, University of Oregon, USA; Frank C. Schultz, Michigan State University, USA; 13. A comparative study of stakeholder-oriented social audit models and reports; Jane Zhang, University of Sunderland, UK; Ian Fraser and Wan Ying Hill, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

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