Stakeholder Multiplicity: Toward an Understanding of the Interactions between Stakeholders Article DOI:
Cite this article as: Neville, B.A. & Menguc, B. J Bus Ethics (2006) 66: 377. doi:10.1007/s10551-006-0015-4 Abstract
While stakeholder theory has traditionally considered organization’s interactions with stakeholders in terms of independent, dyadic relationships, recent scholarship has pointed to the fact that organizations exist within a complex network of intertwining relationships [e.g., Rowley, T. J.: 1997,
The Academy of Management Review 22(4), 887–910]. However, further theoretical and empirical development of the interactions between stakeholders has been lacking. In this paper, we develop a framework for understanding and measuring the effects upon the organization of competing, complementary and cooperative stakeholder interactions, which we refer to as stakeholder multiplicity. We draw upon three forms of fit (i.e. fit as matching, fit as moderation, and fit as gestalts; Venkatraman, N.: 1989) to develop a framework for understanding stakeholder multiplicity based upon the direction, strength, and synergies of the interacting claims. Additionally, we draw upon the theory of stakeholder identification and salience of Mitchell et al. (1997), which we argue provides a more relevant and significantly more illustrative explanation of the nature and effects of stakeholder interactions upon the organization than the network approach of Rowley (1997). Furthermore, we ground our framework through reference to three stakeholder groups (i.e. governments, customers, and employees) and the stakeholder issue of concern for the natural environment. We propose a hierarchy of the multiplicity strength of influence of these three stakeholder groups. Potential measurement and implications are discussed. Keywords corporate social responsibility stakeholder networks stakeholder multiplicity stakeholder salience stakeholder theory strategic fit References Agle, B. R., Mitchell, R. K., Sonnenfeld, J. A. 1999 Who Matters to CEOs? An Investigation of Stakeholder Attributes and Salience, Corporate Performance, and CEO Values Academy of Management Journal 42 507 525 CrossRef Google Scholar Ansoff, H. I. 1965Corporate Strategy: An Analytic Approach to Business Policy for Growth and Expansion McGraw-Hill New York, NY Google Scholar Ansoff, H. I. 1988The New Corporate Strategy Wiley New York, NY Google Scholar Berman, S. L., Wicks, A. 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