Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 150, Issue 2, pp 467–484 | Cite as

Stakeholder Engagement: Keeping Business Legitimate in Austria’s Natural Mineral Water Bottling Industry

  • Anna Katharina Provasnek
  • Erwin Schmid
  • Gerald Steiner
Article

Abstract

Stakeholder maneuvers such as Internet media attacks or consumer boycotts can have devastating effects on companies. By contrary, vital relationships between companies and their stakeholders can be highly beneficial. A review of the existing stakeholder-management literature suggests to engage stakeholders in business activities in a positive manner. However, the types of successful engagement activities differ across industries. The purposes of this article are to develop an explanatory framework based on the literature findings, to introduce stakeholder-engagement literature to a segment of the water sourcing industry, and to unfold industry’s stakeholder-engagement measures. Based on a content analysis of 11 cases, we investigate if and how companies in the natural mineral water bottling industry in Austria inform, communicate, and therefore engage with stakeholders. It became evident that fewer than three of eleven companies published information on sustainability or corporate social responsibility reports, open house days, workshops, or international community activities. Most companies maintained a website for their bottled natural mineral water or communicated quality consciousness. We conclude that most companies in the Austrian mineral water industry could increase their stakeholder-engagement activities to positively respond to challenging business environments.

Keywords

Bottled water Corporate responsibility Engagement Legitimacy Natural mineral water Stakeholder theory 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank the section editor Robert A. Phillips and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful, critical, and constructive comments, which have contributed to improve the quality of this article.

References

  1. Aiyer, A. (2007). The allure of the transnational: Notes on some aspects of the political economy of water in India. Cultural Anthropology, 22(4), 640–658. doi: 10.1525/can.2007.22.4.640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Archambeault, D. S., DeZoort, F. T., & Holt, T. P. (2008). The need for an internal auditor report to external stakeholders to improve governance transparency. Accounting Horizons, 22(4), 375–388. doi: 10.2308/acch.2008.22.4.375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ayuso, S., Rodríguez, M. Á., García-Castro, R., & Ariño, M. Á. (2011). Does stakeholder engagement promote sustainable innovation orientation? Industrial Management & Data Systems, 111(9), 1399–1417. doi: 10.1108/02635571111182764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Besiou, M., Hunter, M. L., & Van Wassenhove, L. N. (2013). A web of watchdogs: Stakeholder media networks and agenda-setting in response to corporate initiatives. Journal of Business Ethics, 118(4), 709–729. doi: 10.1007/s10551-013-1956-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bundy, J., Shropshire, C., & Buchholtz, A. K. (2013). Strategic cognition and issue salience: Toward an explanation of firm responsiveness to stakeholder concerns. Academy of Management Review, 38(3), 352–376. doi: 10.5465/amr.2011.0179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cennamo, C., Berrone, P., Cruz, C., & Gomez-Mejia, L. R. (2012). Socioemotional wealth and proactive stakeholder engagement: Why family-controlled firms care more about their stakeholders. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 36(6), 1153–1173. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6520.2012.00543.x.Google Scholar
  7. Clarkson, M. E. (1995). A stakeholder framework for analyzing and evaluating corporate social performance. Academy of Management Review, 20(1), 92–117. doi: 10.5465/AMR.1995.9503271994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cook, K. S. (1977). Exchange and power in networks of interorganizational relations. The Sociological Quarterly, 18(1), 62–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Corvellec, H. (2007). Arguing for a license to operate: The case of the Swedish wind power industry. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 12(2), 129–144. doi: 10.1108/13563280710744810.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. de Jong, M. D. T., & van der Meer, M. (2015). How does it fit? Exploring the congruence between organizations and their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Journal of Business Ethics,. doi: 10.1007/s10551-015-2782-2.Google Scholar
  11. Ditlev-Simonsen, C. D., & Midttun, A. (2011). What motivates managers to pursue corporate responsibility? A survey among key stakeholders. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 18(1), 25–38. doi: 10.1002/csr.237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dobele, A. R., Westberg, K., Steel, M., & Flowers, K. (2014). An examination of corporate social responsibility implementation and stakeholder engagement: A case study in the Australian mining industry. Business Strategy and the Environment, 23(3), 145–159. doi: 10.1002/bse.1775.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Edwards, P., & Lacey, J. (2014). Can’t climb the trees anymore: Social licence to operate, bioenergy and whole stump removal in Sweden. Social Epistemology, 28(3–4), 239–257. doi: 10.1080/02691728.2014.922637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Epstein, G. S., & Mealem, Y. (2013). Who gains from information asymmetry? Theory and Decision, 75(3), 305–337. doi: 10.1007/s11238-013-9351-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. European Commission. (2014a). Environment: Commission takes Austria to Court over failure to protect water quality on Schwarze Sulm river. Press release database. Press release. Retrieved April 16, 2015 from http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-448_en.htm.
  16. European Commission. (2014b). Initiative details—European Citizens’ Initiative—European Commission. European Commission The European Citizens' Initiative. Government Website. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from http://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/initiatives/finalised/details/2012/000003/en?lg=en.
  17. European Commission. (2014c). List of natural mineral waters recognised by member states. Europe Food Labelling. Retrieved January 21, 2015 from http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/labellingnutrition/water/docs/mw_eulist_en.pdf.
  18. European Union Right2Water. (2014). Drinking water-environment—European Commission. European Commission environment drinking water. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-drink/information_en.html.
  19. Eurostat. (2015). Glossary: Enterprise size—Statistics explained. Glossary: Enterprise size. Retrieved September 22, 2015 from http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Glossary:Micro_enterprises.
  20. Falck, W. E., & Spangenberg, J. H. (2014). Selection of social demand-based indicators: EO-based indicators for mining. Journal of Cleaner Production, 84, 193–203. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.02.021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Federal Ministry of Health. (2014). Liste der in Österreich anerkannten natürlichen Mineralwässer. Retrieved January 21, 2015 from http://www.bmg.gv.at/cms/home/attachments/8/2/6/CH1254/CMS1288334756400/anerkannte_mineralwaesser_juli_2014.pdf.
  22. Fiss, P. C. Z., & Edward, J. (2006). The symbolic management of strategic change: Sense giving via framing and decoupling. Academy of Management Journal, 49(6), 1173–1193. doi: 10.5465/AMJ.2006.23478255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Freeman, H. E. (1999). Divergent stakeholder theory. Academy of Management Review, 24(2), 233–236. doi: 10.5465/AMR.1999.1893932.Google Scholar
  25. Gill, L. (2009). The limits of solidarity: Labor and transnational organizing against Coca-Cola. American Ethnologist, 36(4), 667–680. doi: 10.1111/j.1548-1425.2009.01202.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Greenwood, M. (2007). Stakeholder engagement: Beyond the myth of corporate responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 74(4), 315–327. doi: 10.1007/s10551-007-9509-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hall, N. L. (2014). Can the “Social Licence to Operate” concept enhance engagement and increase acceptance of renewable energy? A case study of wind farms in Australia. Social Epistemology, 28(3–4), 219–238. doi: 10.1080/02691728.2014.922636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Harrison, J. S. S. J., & Caron, H. (1996). Managing and partnering with external stakeholders. Academy of Management Executive, 10(2), 46–60. doi: 10.5465/AME.1996.9606161554.Google Scholar
  29. Hennchen, E. (2014). Royal Dutch shell in Nigeria: Where do responsibilities end? Journal of Business Ethics. doi: 10.1007/s10551-014-2142-7.Google Scholar
  30. Jones, T. M. (1995). Instrumental stakeholder theory: A synthesis of ethics and economics. Academy of Management Review, 20(2), 404–437. doi: 10.5465/AMR.1995.9507312924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. King, A. (2007). Cooperation between corporations and environmental groups: A transaction cost perspective. Academy of Management Review, 32(3), 889–900. doi: 10.5465/AMR.2007.25275680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kroeger, A., & Weber, C. (2014). Developing a conceptual framework for comparing social value creation. Academy of Management Review, 39(4), 513–540. doi: 10.5465/amr.2012.0344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kumar, V. (2010). Water management in Fiji. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 26(1), 81–96. doi: 10.1080/07900620903392216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kwon, S.-W., & Adler, P. S. (2014). Social capital: Maturation of a field of research. Academy of Management Review, 39(4), 412–422. doi: 10.5465/amr.2014.0210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. LeFanic, R. (2010). Water resources management in the bottled water business. Groundwater quality sustainability. Presented at the XXXVIII IAH Congress (pp. 23–33). Krakow: University of Silesia Press, 2010. doi: 10.2495/WRM090031.
  36. Maon, F., Swaen, V., & Lindgreen, A. (2015). One vision, different paths: An investigation of corporate social responsibility initiatives in Europe. Journal of Business Ethics,. doi: 10.1007/s10551-015-2810-2.Google Scholar
  37. Miles, M. P., Munilla, L. S., & Darroch, J. (2009). Sustainable corporate entrepreneurship. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 5(1), 65–76. doi: 10.1007/s11365-008-0074-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Milne, M., & Adler, R. W. (1999). Exploring the reliability of social and environmental disclosures content analysis. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 12(2), 237–256. doi: 10.1108/09513579910270138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Minoja, M., Zollo, M., & Coda, V. (2010). Stakeholder cohesion, innovation, and competitive advantage. Corporate Governance, 10(4), 395–405. doi: 10.1108/14720701011069632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 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. doi: 10.5465/AMR.1997.9711022105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mumford, M. D., & Fried, Y. (2014). Give them what they want or give them what they need? Ideology in the study of leadership. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35(5), 622–634. doi: 10.1002/job.1921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Nelsen, J. L. (2006). Social license to operate. International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment, 20(3), 161–162. doi: 10.1080/17480930600804182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Newborne, P., & Mason, N. (2012). The private sector’s contribution to water management: Re-examining corporate purposes and company roles. Water Alternatives, 5(3), 603–618.Google Scholar
  44. O’Riordan, L., & Fairbrass, J. (2014). Managing CSR stakeholder engagement: A new conceptual framework. Journal of Business Ethics, 125(1), 121–145. doi: 10.1007/s10551-013-1913-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Official Commercial Register of Austria. (2015). Annual balance sheets (No. Jahresabschluss Geschäftsjahr 2013). Vienna.Google Scholar
  46. Oxford University Press. (2015a). Oxford Dictionaries information. Retrieved January 22, 2015 from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/information.
  47. Oxford University Press. (2015b). Oxford Dictionaries communication. Retrieved January 22, 2015 from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/de/definition/englisch/communication.
  48. Phillips, R. (2003). Stakeholder legitimacy. Business Ethics Quarterly, 13(1), 25–41. doi: 10.5840/beq20031312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Posch, A., & Steiner, G. (2006). Integrating research and teaching on innovation for sustainable development. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 7(3), 276–292. doi: 10.1108/14676370610677847.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Prno, J. (2013). An analysis of factors leading to the establishment of a social licence to operate in the mining industry. Resources Policy, 38(4), 577–590. doi: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2013.09.010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Prno, J., & Slocombe, D. S. (2012). Exploring the origins of “social license to operate” in the mining sector: Perspectives from governance and sustainability theories. Resources Policy, 37(3), 346–357. doi: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2012.04.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ravi Raman, K. (2010). Transverse solidarity: Water, power, and resistance. Review of Radical Political Economics, 42(2), 251–268. doi: 10.1177/0486613410368507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Richert, C., Rogers, A., & Burton, M. (2015). Measuring the extent of a social license to operate: The influence of marine biodiversity offsets in the oil and gas sector in Western Australia. Resources Policy, 43, 121–129. doi: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2014.12.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rowley, T. I., & Moldoveanu, M. (2003). When will stakeholder groups act? An interest- and identity-based model of stakeholder group mobilization. Academy of Management Review, 28(2), 204–219. doi: 10.5465/AMR.2003.9416080.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Russo, A., & Tencati, A. (2009). Formal vs. informal CSR strategies: Evidence from Italian micro, small, medium-sized, and large firms. Journal of Business Ethics, 85(2), 339–353. doi: 10.1007/s10551-008-9736-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sachs, S., Rühli, E., & Meier, C. (2011). Stakeholder governance as a response to wicked issues. Journal of Business Ethics, 96(S1), 57–64. doi: 10.1007/s10551-011-0944-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schaltegger, S., Harms, D., Hörisch, J., & Windolph, S. E. (2013). International corporate sustainability barometer. Lüneburg: Leuphana University; Centre for Sustainability Management. Retrieved October 28, 2013 from http://www2.leuphana.de/csm/InternationalCorporateSustainabilityBarometer.pdf.
  58. Sethi, P. (2014). The Wal-Mart affair—Where implausible deniability is the coin of the realm. Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, 14(3), 424–451. doi: 10.1108/CG-10-2013-0112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Shrivastava, P., & Berger, S. (2010). Sustainability principles: A review and directions. Organization Management Journal, 7(4), 246–261. doi: 10.1057/omj.2010.35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Smith, E. (2012). Corporate image and public health: An analysis of the Philip Morris, Kraft, and Nestlé websites. Journal of Health Communication, 17(5), 582–600. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2011.635776.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Steiner, G. (2008). Supporting sustainable innovation through stakeholder management: A systems view. International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 5(6), 595. doi: 10.1504/IJIL.2008.019143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Steurer, R., Langer, M. E., Konrad, A., & Martinuzzi, A. (2005). Corporations, stakeholders and sustainable development I: A theoretical exploration of business–society relations. Journal of Business Ethics, 61(3), 263–281. doi: 10.1007/s10551-005-7054-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Syn, J. (2014). The social license: Empowering communities and a better way forward. Social Epistemology, 28(3–4), 318–339. doi: 10.1080/02691728.2014.922640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. United Nations. (1987). Our common future; Brundtland Report 1987—Our_Common_Future-Brundtland_Report_1987. Retrieved October 22, 2013 from http://conspect.nl/pdf/Our_Common_Future-Brundtland_Report_1987.pdf.
  65. van der Voort, N., & Vanclay, F. (2015). Social impacts of earthquakes caused by gas extraction in the Province of Groningen, The Netherlands. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 50, 1–15. doi: 10.1016/j.eiar.2014.08.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Vedeld, T. (2001). Participation in project preparation: Lessons from World Bank-assisted projects in India. Ghana Gender Analysis and Policymaking for Development, 423, 1–74.Google Scholar
  67. Wilburn, K. M., & Wilburn, R. (2011). Achieving social license to operate using stakeholder theory. Journal of International Business Ethics, 4(2), 3–16.Google Scholar
  68. Young, M. (2010). Bottled and sold: The story behind our obsession with bottled water, by Peter H. Gleick. Water International, 35(4), 463. doi: 10.1080/02508060.2010.510287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Zollo, M., Cennamo, C., & Neumann, K. (2013). Beyond what and why understanding organizational evolution towards sustainable enterprise models. Organization & Environment, 26(3), 241–259. doi: 10.1177/1086026613496433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Katharina Provasnek
    • 1
  • Erwin Schmid
    • 1
  • Gerald Steiner
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Sustainable Economic DevelopmentUniversity of Natural Resources and Life Sciences ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Weatherhead Center for International AffairsHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Department for Knowledge and Communication ManagementDanube University KremsKremsAustria

Personalised recommendations