Practices of stakeholder engagement and identity dynamics

Authored by: Nic Beech , Robert MacIntosh

The Routledge Companion to Organizational Change

Print publication date:  October  2011
Online publication date:  October  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415556453
eBook ISBN: 9780203810279
Adobe ISBN: 9781136680908


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Commercial companies have long sought to manage their stakeholders and to do so by exercising influence over those who they compete with and those who consume their products. More recently, social movements have been analysed using stakeholder mapping techniques and this has led to an awareness of alternative perspectives on stakeholders. In this chapter we explain the traditional mapping approach and apply it to a music company by way of illustration. We then raise criticisms of the traditional approach, namely that it fails to comprehend the complex dynamics of socially constructed environments, the subtle nature of plural identities and the value-base of some stakeholder groups. These criticisms lead us to argue that a means to ends rational perspective of stakeholders will under-represent those who act for value, identity and expressive motivations. Subsequently, we illustrate some of these points by drawing upon a case from the French film industry where we trace the process as a group of managers went through it. We conclude that although stakeholder mapping can be used in attempts to ‘manage’ stakeholders, a viable alternative is that it should be used to engage with stakeholders.

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