Managing Stakeholders for the Sake of Business and Society
Since Freeman’s (Strategic management: A stakeholder approach, Pitman, Boston, 1984) seminal work on the stakeholder view of the firm, stakeholder management has become a much discussed concept in the business as well as in the academic world. In both realms, the call for integrating stakeholders into business decision-making has resonated widely. However, the transfer of elaborate concepts developed by academia into business practice poses a problem, and companies do not know how to address the complex issue of managing stakeholders successfully so that a benefit for the business and for the stakeholders is created. The theoretical and practical discussion of stakeholder management presented in this chapter aims to address this knowledge gap and thereby represents the missing link which is the focus of this chapter.
After an introduction, the theoretical foundation will be provided by discussing important elements and issues of stakeholder management. Of special importance are approaches on how to identify and integrate those stakeholders who are particularly relevant to the company. Thereafter, we will make a business case for stakeholder management in order to build the bridge to the practical part of the chapter. This leads to the crucial question of why companies should practice stakeholder management. In the practical part, we will explain how companies can go about implementing an effective stakeholder management and will also address mistakes which are frequently made. The chapter will close with a conclusion and an outlook on the future of stakeholder management.
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