This book is the companion to "Unfolding Stakeholder Thinking: Theory, Responsibility and Engagement", which examined many emerging theoretical and normative issues and was released to acclaim in October 2002. "Unfolding Stakeholder Thinking 2" collects a series of essays by leading researchers worldwide to focus on the practice of stakeholder engagement in terms of relationship management, communication, reporting and performance. As stakeholder relationships and business in society have become increasingly central to the unfolding of stakeholder thinking, important new topics have begun to take centre stage in both the worlds of practice and academia. The first part of the book makes clear that simply engaging with stakeholders is insufficient to build successful stakeholder strategies. Companies, considered as the focal entity in a relationship, also need to actively communicate with stakeholders and manage their relationships. Dialogue is essential but can only be useful if companies listen to the messages that stakeholders are sending them.
It is also essential to understand the role of power and influence in stakeholder engagement strategies especially if partnerships or collaborations emerge from the relationships that are engendered. The book examines a wide range of corporate-NGO collaborations to determine what makes them effective - and what makes them fail. Conflict management in stakeholder alliances is also discussed. The second part of the book addresses the critically important element of emerging schemes for the assessment, measurement and reporting of business in society and relationships involving stakeholders. A variety of current approaches to stakeholder assessment and reporting are discussed here including social auditing and sustainability reporting. The evolution of stakeholder thinking has led to a new view of the firm as an organism embedded in a complex web of relationships with other organisms. The role of management becomes immensely more challenging, when stakeholders are no longer seen as simply the objects of managerial action but rather as subjects with their own objectives and purposes.
This book captures the complexity of managing relationships with stakeholders and will provide both practitioners and researchers with a wealth of information on the benefits and consequences of this practice.