Session 214

Can-do stakeholders? How stakeholders impact CSR and sustainability management.

Track M

Date: Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Time: 17:15 – 18:30

Common Ground

Room: Moscu


  • Richard Priem, Texas Christian University

Title: A Dynamic Process Model of Contentious Politics: Corporate Receptivity to Social Challenges


  • Mary-Hunter McDonnell, University of Pennsylvania
  • Brayden King, Northwestern University
  • Sarah Soule, Stanford University

Abstract: This project explores the broader question of if and why corporations become more receptive to social activist challenges over time. Drawing from social movement theory, we suggest a dynamic process through which contentious interactions lead to increased receptivity. First, contentious activists target firms that are less receptive, where they have few alternatives of influence. Second, firms respond defensively to these attacks by adopting strategic management devices that help them better manage social issues. Finally, these defensive devices empower independent monitors and increase corporate accountability, which increases the firm's receptivity to future activist challenges. We test our theory using a unique longitudinal dataset that tracks contentious attacks and the adoption of social management devices among a population of 300 large firms from 1993-2009.

Title: A General Theory of CSR: How Uncertainty and Stakeholder Conflict Determine Different CSR Strategies


  • Olga Hawn, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Hyoung-Goo Kang, Hanyang University

Abstract: How can firms most effectively engage with stakeholders on controversial social issues? We seek to answer this question by using two central concepts from the Behavioral Theory of the Firm – conflict and Knightian uncertainty – in addition to Aristotelian virtue ethics and the literature on social capital, social contract and justice. We develop a general theory of CSR by categorizing four different stakeholder engagement strategies that can be used under different conditions: in particular, we argue that depending on the levels of stakeholder conflict and Knightian uncertainty, firms can pursue such CSR strategies as creating shared value, corporate stakeholder capital, social contract, or strategic CSR. We contribute to the CSR and strategy literatures by developing a behavioral theory of nonmarket strategy.

Title: An Unintended Crisis: Bounded Reliability And Corporate Sustainability


  • Liena Kano, University of Calgary
  • Loren Falkenberg, University of Calgary
  • Alain Verbeke, University of Calgary

Abstract: In this conceptual study, we explore firm-level, strategic governance challenges in the realm of corporate sustainability. We distinguish between two types of sustainability crises – those characterized by opportunism, and those characterized by unintended, negative societal and environmental spillovers of productive entrepreneurial activities. We argue that these two types of crisis are driven by different behavioural mechanisms. We focus on the presence of benevolent conflict among diverse stakeholder needs, and describe how challenges in managing dynamic expectations of stakeholder groups can trigger sustainability crises. We argue that the behavioural sources of many sustainability crises are primarily situational, rather than dispositional (i.e., determined by opportunism). Rather than devoting excessive managerial resources to safeguarding against opportunism, corporations must focus more broadly on improving the quality of strategic governance.

Title: Corporate Social Responsibility Failure in Offshore Outsourcing Relationships


  • Michael Mol, Copenhagen Business School
  • Kamel Mellahi, University of Warwick
  • SunHye Lee, University of Warwick

Abstract: Organizations face major challenges in managing CSR in offshore outsourcing (OO) relationships. CSR failure in OO occurs within firm, relationship, and institutional contexts. We use multiple conceptual perspectives to understand the factors that make CSR failure in OO more likely and more severe. Specifically, we suggest that misalignments in resource endowments, CSR objectives, and stakeholder sets of the buyer and supplier, as well as misalignments between home and host country formal and informal institutions, contribute to failure. We propose that the strength of the buyer firm and of home country institutions shape CSR expectations, making failure more severe, and that weaknesses in host firm country institutions make failure more likely. Finally, we suggest that buyer-supplier dependence and the presence of relational rents moderate these effects.

Title: Heterogeneous Stakeholder Pressures and Corporate Green Practices: Evidence from China


  • Xueyong Zhan, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Carlos Wing-hung Lo, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Dalu Fang, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Xubing Zhang, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Abstract: This research examines the relationships between heterogeneous stakeholder pressures and two types of corporate green practices: symbolic and substantive environmental programs. Whereas symbolic environmental programs refer to corporate practices in enhancing relationships with external stakeholders, substantive environmental programs refer to corporate practices in building internal capacity in environmental management. Using data from a questionnaire survey of 131 manufacturing enterprises in Guangzhou (with two respondents from each enterprise), we identified that the level of non-government pressure faced by a firm is positively related to its engagement in symbolic environmental programs, and the level of pressure from environmental protection bureau (EPB) faced by a firm is positively related to its engagement in substantive environmental programs. Our research offers a more nuanced understanding of corporate decoupling as well as the impacts of stakeholder pressures on corporate green practices in the developmental context of China.

Title: Re-Conceptualizing Dynamic Capabilities In The Light Of Sustainability


  • Romano Dyerson, University of London
  • Lutz Preuss, Royal Holloway University of London

Abstract: In this paper, we argue for a re-conceptualization of dynamic capabilities that explicitly integrates sustainability. We begin by exploring aspects where sustainability requires a different approach to the standard business outlook, namely in the range of actors that have an interest in the company and in the nature of the interdependencies that arise from managerial decision-making. We show how these aspects have implications for the conventional treatment of dynamic capabilities. Hence, we argue that our understanding of dynamic capabilities needs to change as sustainability reframes the context of mainstream business operations. This discussion leads us to develop the concept of sustainability-driven dynamic capabilities that act hierarchically on dynamic capabilities orientated towards renewal and regeneration.

All Sessions in Track M...

Sun: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 220: Applying Stakeholder Analysis in the Classroom
Sun: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 221: Global Stakeholder Networks
Sun: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 222: The Questions Stakeholder Theory Does or Could Answer Best
Sun: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 215: Yikes: What Now (Reloaded)?: Firm Responses to Stakeholder Activism
Sun: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 609: Stakeholder Strategy IG Business Meeting
Mon: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 213: What is In It For Us? How Sustainability Matters for Firm Strategy
Mon: 16:30 – 17:45
Session 216: What should we say? The benefits and risks of communication with stakeholders.
Tue: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 218: Willing and able to engage? Firm interactions with their stakeholders.
Tue: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 217: Value creation for whom? Stakeholder management and shareholder interests.
Tue: 15:30 – 16:45
Session 219: Managing or resolving stakeholder issues? Of governments, politics and scandals.
Tue: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 214: Can-do stakeholders? How stakeholders impact CSR and sustainability management.

Strategic Management Society