Stakeholder theory scholars have recently addressed two crucial calls: the first is for the integration of strategy and ethics, of stakeholder theory and strategic management, and the second call is for the development of a dynamic approach to stakeholder management. I have attempted to answer these calls by developing a theoretical framework that links together stakeholder management, stakeholder commitment to cooperate with the firm, key decision makers’ ethical commitment, and firm strategy. Starting from the basic assumption that managers cannot meet all stakeholders’ demands immediately and in a tailored manner, I contend, first, that an ambidextrous approach to stakeholder management is conducive to stakeholders’ commitment to cooperate for the sustainable well-being of the firm and, second, that firm strategy and key decision makers’ ethical commitment moderate the relationship between an ambidextrous stakeholder management and stakeholder commitment to cooperate. Furthermore, drawing on this theoretical framework, I attempt to address the call for the integration of strategy and ethics by proposing a three-level conceptual model that distinguishes the objectives, the field, and the levers of integration. Finally, I outline a set of propositions that, taken together, represent a first attempt to develop a dynamic approach to stakeholder management.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Argandoña, A. (2003). Fostering values in organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 45(1/2), 15–28.
Argyris, C. (1982). Reasoning, learning, and action: Individual and organizational. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.
Barnett, M. L. (2007). Stakeholder influence capacity and the variability of financial returns to corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Review, 32(3), 794–816.
Barney, J. B. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99–120.
Bartlett, C. A., & Ghoshal, S. (1994). Changing the role of top management: Beyond strategy to purpose. Harvard Business Review, 72(6), 79–88.
Berman, S. L., Wicks, A. C., Kotha, S., & Jones, T. M. (1999). Does stakeholder orientation matter? The relationship between stakeholder management models and firm financial performance. Academy of Management Journal, 42(5), 488–506.
Bosse, D. A., Phillips, R. A., & Harrison, J. S. (2009). Stakeholders, reciprocity, and firm performance. Strategic Management Journal, 30(4), 447–456.
Branco, M. C., & Rodrigues, L. L. (2006). Corporate social responsibility and resource-based perspectives. Journal of Business Ethics, 69(2), 111–132.
Carroll, A. B., & Hoy, F. (1984). Integrating corporate social policy into strategic management. Journal of Business Strategy, 4(3), 48–57.
Christensen, C. M., Baumann, H., Ruggles, R., & Sadtler, T. M. (2006). Disruptive innovation for social change. Harvard Business Review, 84(12), 94–101.
Clarkson, M. B. (1995). A stakeholder framework for analyzing and evaluating corporate social performance. Academy of Management Review, 20(1), 92–117.
Coda, V. (1989). L’orientamento strategico di fondo delle imprese. Torino: UTET.
Coda, V., & Mollona, E. (2010). The feedback structure of the strategy process and top management’s role in shaping emerging strategic behaviour. In P. Mazzola & F. W. Kellermanns (Eds.), Handbook of research on strategy process (pp. 109–141). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Coombs, J. E., & Gilley, K. M. (2005). Stakeholder management as a predictor of CEO compensation: Main effects and interactions with financial performance. Strategic Management Journal, 26(9), 827–840.
Crilly, D., Zollo, M., & Hansen, M. (2009). The eye of the beholder: When symbolic compliance fails in the context of corporate social responsibility, working paper series, Centre for Research in Organization and Management, Bocconi University, Milano.
De Luque, M. S., Washburn, N. T., Waldman, D. A., & House, R. J. (2008). Unrequited profit: How stakeholder and economic values relate to subordinates’ perceptions of leadership and firm performance. Administrative Science Quarterly, 53, 262–654.
Donaldson, T., & Preston, L. (1995). The stakeholder theory of the corporation: Concepts, evidence, and implications. Academy of Management Review, 20(1), 65–91.
Drucker, P. F. (2004). What makes an effective executive. Harvard Business Review, 82(6), 58–63.
Dyer, J. H., & Hatch, N. W. (2006). Relation-specific capabilities and barriers to knowledge transfers: Crating advantage through network relationships. Strategic Management Journal, 27, 701–719.
Elms, H., Brammer, S., Harris, J. D., & Phillips, R. A. (2010). New directions in strategic management and business ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 20(3), 401–425.
Finkelstein, S. (2006). Why smart executive fail: Four case histories of how people learn the wrong lessons from history. Business History, 48(2), 153–170.
Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Boston: Pitman.
Freeman, R. E., & Gilbert, D. R., Jr. (1988). Corporate strategy and the search for ethics. Englewoods Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Freeman, R. E., Harrison, J. S., Wicks, A. C., Parmar, B. L., & De Colle, S. (2010). Stakeholder theory. The state of the art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Freeman, R. E., Martin, K., & Parmar, B. (2007). Stakeholder capitalism. Journal of Business Ethics, 74(4), 303–314.
Freeman, R. E., & Reed, D. L. (1983). Stockholders and stakeholders: A new perspective on corporate governance. California Management Review, 25(3), 88–106.
Freeman, R. E., & Velamuri, S. R. (2006). A new approach to CSR: Company stakeholder responsibility. In A. Kakabadse & M. Morsing (Eds.), Corporate social responsibility (pp. 9–23). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Freeman, R. E., Wicks, A. C., & Parmar, B. (2004). Stakeholder theory and “The corporate objective revisited”. Organization Science, 15(3), 364–369.
Gardberg, N. A., & Fombrun, C. J. (2006). Corporate citizenship: Creating intangible assets across institutional environments. Academy of Management Review, 31(2), 329–346.
Garriga, E., & Melé, D. (2004). Corporate social responsibility theories: Mapping the territory. Journal of Business Ethics, 53(1–2), 51–71.
Ghemawat, P. (2010). Strategy and the business landscape (3rd ed.). Prentice Hall, NJ: Upper Saddle River.
Gioia, D. A. (1999). Practicability, paradigms, and problems in stakeholder theorizing. Academy of Management Review, 24(2), 228–232.
Goodpaster, K. E. (1991). Business ethics and stakeholder analysis. Business Ethics Quarterly, 1(1), 53–73.
Goodstein, J. D., & Wicks, A. C. (2007). Corporate and stakeholder responsibility: Making business ethics a two-way conversation. Business Ethics Quarterly, 17(3), 375–398.
Hamel, G., & Prahalad, C. K. (1989). Strategic intent. Harvard Business Review, 67(3), 63–71.
Harrison, J. S., Bosse, D., & Phillips, R. A. (2010). Managing for stakeholders, stakeholder utility functions, and competitive advantage. Strategic Management Journal, 31(1), 58–74.
Harting, T. R., Harmeling, S. S., & Venkataraman, S. (2006). Innovative stakeholders relations: When ‘ethics pays’ (and when it doesn’t). Business Ethics Quarterly, 16(1), 43–68.
Hillman, A. J., & Keim, G. D. (2001). Shareholder value, stakeholder management, and social issues: What’s the bottom line? Strategic Management Journal, 22(2), 125–139.
Huff, A. S. (1982). Industry influences on strategy reformulation. Strategic Management Journal, 3(2), 119–131.
Huff, J. O., Huff, A. S., & Thomas, H. (1992). Strategic renewal and the interaction of cumulative stress and inertia. Strategic Management Journal, 13(S1), 55–75.
Jamali, D. (2008). A stakeholder approach to corporate social responsibility: A fresh perspective into theory and practice. Journal of Business Ethics, 82(1), 213–231.
Jensen, M. C. (2002). Value maximization, stakeholder theory, and the corporate objective function. Business Ethics Quarterly, 12(2), 235–256.
Jones, T. M., Felps, W., & Bigley, G. A. (2007). Ethical theory and stakeholder-related decisions: The role of stakeholder culture. Academy of Management Review, 32(1), 137–155.
Levinthal, D. A., & March, J. G. (1993). The myopia of learning. Strategic Management Journal, 14(Special issue), 95–112.
Lockett, A., Moon, J., & Visser, W. (2006). Corporate social responsibility in management research: Focus, nature, salience and sources of influence. Journal of Management Studies, 43(1), 115–136.
Lubatkin, M. H., Simsek, Z., Ling, Y., & Veiga, J. F. (2006). Ambidexterity and performance in small- to medium-sized firms: The pivotal role of top management team behavioral integration. Journal of Management, 32(5), 646–672.
Mackey, A., Mackey, T. B., & Barney, J. B. (2007). Corporate social responsibility and firm performance: Investor preferences and corporate strategies. Academy of Management Review, 32(3), 817–835.
Margolis, J. D., & Walsh, J. P. (2003). Misery loves companies: Rethinking social initiatives by business. Administrative Science Quarterly, 48, 268–305.
Markides, C. C., & Charitou, C. D. (2004). Competing with dual business models: A contingency approach. Academy of Management Executives, 18(3), 22–36.
Minoja, M., Zollo, M., & Coda, V. (2010). Stakeholder cohesion, innovation, and competitive advantage. Corporate Governance: An International Journal of Business in Society, 10(4), 395–405.
Mitchell, R. K., Agle, B. R., & Wood, D. J. (1997). Toward a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of who and what really counts. Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853–886.
Newman, W. H. (1979). Commentary. In D. E. Schendel & C. W. Hofer (Eds.), Strategic management: A new view of business policy and planning (pp. 44–47). Boston: Little Brown.
Paine, L. S. (1994). Managing for organizational integrity. Harvard Business Review, 72(2), 106–117.
Perrini, F., & Minoja, M. (2008). Strategizing corporate social responsibility: Evidence from an Italian medium-sized, family-owned company. Business Ethics: A European Review, 17(1), 47–63.
Phillips, R., Freeman, R. E., & Wicks, A. (2003). What stakeholder theory is not. Business Ethics Quarterly, 13(4), 479–502.
Porter, M. E. (1980). Competitive strategy—Techniques for analyzing industries and competitors. New York: The Free Press.
Porter, M. E. (1985). Competitive advantage. New York: The Free Press.
Porter, M. E. (1996). What is strategy? Harvard Business Review, 74(6), 61–78.
Post, J. E., Preston, L. E., & Sachs, S. (2002). Managing the extended enterprise: The new stakeholder view. California Management Review, 45(1), 5–27.
Prahalad, C. K., & Hammond, A. (2002). Serving the world’s poor, profitably. Harvard Business Review, 89(9), 48–57.
Raisch, S., & Birkinshaw, J. (2008). Organizational ambidexterity: Antecedents, outcomes and moderators. Journal of Management, 34(3), 375–409.
Sachs, S., & Maurer, M. (2009). Toward dynamic corporate stakeholder responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 85(supplement 3), 535–544.
Saparito, P. A., Chen, C. C., & Sapienza, H. J. (2004). The role of relational trust in bank-small firm relationships. Academy of Management Journal, 47(3), 400–410.
Seelos, C., & Mair, J. (2007). Profitable business models and market creation in the context of deep poverty: A strategic view. Academy of Management Perspectives, 21(4), 49–63.
Signori, S., & Rusconi, G. (2009). Ethical thinking in traditional Italian Economia Aziendale and the stakeholder management theory: The search for possible interactions. Journal of Business Ethics, 89(supplement 3), 303–318.
Tushman, M. T., & O’Reilly, C. A. I. I. I. (1996). Ambidextrous organizations: Managing evolutionary and revolutionary change. California Management Review, 38(4), 8–30.
Waddock, S. A., & Graves, S. B. (1997). The corporate social performance—Financial performance link. Strategic Management Journal, 18(4), 303–319.
Weaver, G. R., Treviño, L. K., & Cochran, P. L. (1999). Integrated and decoupled corporate social performance: Management commitments, external pressures, and corporate ethics practices. Academy of Management Journal, 42(5), 539–552.
Wei-Skillern, J. (2003). Sustainable development at Shell (A). Boston: Harvard Business School.
Wernerfelt, B. (1984). A resource-based view of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 5, 171–180.
Zadek, S. (2004). The path to corporate responsibility. Harvard Business Review, 82, 125–132.
Zollo, M., Minoja, M., Casanova, L., Hockerts, K., Neergaard, P., Schneider, S., et al. (2009a). Towards an internal change management perspective of CSR: Evidence from project RESPONSE on the sources of cognitive alignment between managers and their stakeholders, and their implications for social performance. Corporate Governance: An International Journal of Business in Society, 9(4), 355–372.
Zollo, M., Minoja, M., & Coda, V. (2009b). Toward an integrated theory of strategy, working paper, Centre for Research in Organization and Management, Bocconi University, Milano.
The author expresses his gratitude to Professor Vittorio Coda (Bocconi University) for his extraordinary and relentless support and guidance, to the Editors for conceiving and managing this special issue, and to two anonymous referees for their constructive and insightful comments and suggestions.
About this article
Cite this article
Minoja, M. Stakeholder Management Theory, Firm Strategy, and Ambidexterity. J Bus Ethics 109, 67–82 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1380-9
- Dynamic approach
- Firm strategy
- Stakeholder management