Session 216

What should we say? The benefits and risks of communication with stakeholders.

Track M

Date: Monday, September 22, 2014


Time: 16:30 – 17:45


Room: Monaco

Session Chair:

  • Ben Lewis, Brigham Young University

Title: Do Organizations Light a Candle and Hide it Under a Bushel? The Strategic Publication of Certification Status


  • W. Chad Carlos, Brigham Young University
  • Ben Lewis, Brigham Young University

Abstract: Institutional scholars have long recognized the symbolic value of certifications in legitimating organizations. Underlying this perspective, however, is an implicit assumption that organizations will always signal their certification status to their external constituents. Drawing upon insights from impression management theory, we question this assumption and argue that the publication of certification status will likely depend on the degree to which the certification is institutionalized, the risk of being perceived as hypocritical by key stakeholders, and the degree of regulatory scrutiny experienced by the firm. We test our hypotheses by examining variation in the publication of membership in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). Our results show that avoiding hypocrisy is indeed a strategic factor that influences firm behavior, particularly for those in highly regulated industries.

Title: Earnings Management in Non-Earnings-Oriented Settings


  • Donald Lange, Arizona State University

Abstract: The guiding proposition in this study is that the not-for-profit setting affords executives a different set of motives for managing earnings, rather than diminishing all such motives. We develop the ideas that the meaning of earnings can be context dependent and that earnings have a special symbolic management value for not-for-profit executives. Contrary to what researchers would tend to predict in the for-profit setting, our predictions center on the idea that not-for-profit executives might wish to show a financial loss rather than a gain and to avoid showing net income increases. By extending the exploration of earnings management into a setting not oriented towards earnings, we hope to gain valuable insights about how earnings management is institutionally driven in both for-profit and not-for-profit settings.

Title: Restoring Order: How Market Mediators Re-establish an Industry’s Cognitive and Moral Order after a Scandal


  • Marco Clemente, Aalto University
  • Rodolphe Durand, HEC-Paris
  • Joseph Porac, New York University

Abstract: Media outlets are key stakeholders for firms on which they depend for their legitimacy and reputation. The media's role is particular important during dramatic events, such as scandals, as they can influence the public discourse and opinions about firms and their industry. We propose a view of scandals as cognitive and normative disturbances and study how the media reacts to these disturbances in their efforts to re-establish a stable order after a scandal occurs. We propose and find that scandals increase the media's attention scope and contestation of relevant events, and induce them to particularly target high status actors in their scrutiny. Our empirical context is the scandal that affected the Italian soccer league in 2006 – Calciopoli. This paper contributes to the stakeholder, organizations, and strategy literatures.

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