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Towards Understanding Stakeholder Salience Transition and Relational Approach to ‘Better’ Corporate Social Responsibility: A Case for a Proposed Model in Practice

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Abstract

Management and business literature affirm the role played by stakeholders in corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices as crucial, but what constitutes a true business–society partnership remains relatively unexplored. This paper aims to improve scholarly and management understanding beyond the usual managers’ perceptions on salience attributes, to include how stakeholders can acquire missing attributes to inform a meaningful partnership. In doing this, a model is proposed which conceptualises CSR practices and outcomes within the frameworks of stakeholder salience via empowerment, sustainable corporate social performances and partnership quality. A holistic discussion leads to generation of propositions on stakeholder salience management, corporate social performance, corporate–community partnership systems and CSR practices, which have both academic and management implications.

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Notes

  1. The degree of relevance of a stakeholder at which managers of firms are more willing to prioritise the demands and claims of such a stakeholder group. Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary and Thesaurus defines the term ‘salience’ as the state or condition of a person to feel being important to or connected with what is happening or being discussed. The paper adapts the term within the vicinity of the firm, where its meaning is synonymous to the relevance of a stakeholder towards the survival of the firm. We agree that the salience of a stakeholder to managers of a firm is critical, as literature evidence shows that demands of stakeholders with higher salience are prioritised by managers of firms than those with lesser salience towards the success of the firm. It is worth noting that salience status of a stakeholder is not static. This implies, a stakeholder with lesser salience can acquire missing attributes to increase its salience status over time. “Theoretical Underpinnings of the SP-CSR Model” section of the paper presents theoretical discussions on salience theory.

  2. Salience-Partnership (SP)-CSR Model” section of the paper provides details on the SR-CSR model.

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Acknowledgments

This research paper is based on the first author’s PhD research work sponsored by the Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts, University of Southern Queensland, Queensland, Australia. The authors are grateful to the sponsors. Special thanks to Brad Agle and Duane Windsor who contributed in shaping initial ideas prior to the design of this model during the 25th Annual IABS conference in Sydney. The authors are also grateful to to the anonymous referees of Journal of Business Ethics and Prof Adam Lindgreen, Section Editor of this journal, for insightful comments on earlier drafts of the paper.

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Erdiaw-Kwasie, M.O., Alam, K. & Shahiduzzaman, M. Towards Understanding Stakeholder Salience Transition and Relational Approach to ‘Better’ Corporate Social Responsibility: A Case for a Proposed Model in Practice. J Bus Ethics 144, 85–101 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2805-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2805-z

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