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The Stakeholder Strategy

Book Description

In today's highly networked and competitive global economy, mounting social and environmental problems are forcing corporations to focus on more than just their stockholders' interest in meeting bottom line profitability. More and more companies are recognizing the value of identifying and building relationships with all of their organization's stakeholders-employees, customers, suppliers, and even communities. In fact, recent research has shown that companies that treat their employees well, create jobs in the local economy, develop innovative products and services, take care of the environment, and contribute to the community, are often more profitable.

In The Stakeholder Strategy, sociologist Ann Svendsen presents an effective and practical step-by-step guide that companies can use to forge a network of powerful and profitable collaborative stakeholder relationships.

While some forward-thinking corporations have tried limited collaborative approaches-focusing on one stakeholder group at a time-few have taken a comprehensive and strategic approach to building relationships with all of their stakeholders, notes Svendsen. And, while considerable commitment to the idea of stakeholder collaboration exists, there is a lack of knowledge and understanding about how to develop these relationships. The Stakeholder Strategy is the first book to show business leaders and managers how to establish and maintain positive, mutually beneficial stakeholder relationships. Based on a synthesis of ideas from community relations, corporate philanthropy, stakeholder management, organizational change, sustainability, and the corporate social responsibility literature, it offers an integrated framework, as well as the practical tools for developing new kinds of collaborative relationships.

Svendsen uses easy-to-grasp concepts from everyday life, such as the process we go through in finding a mate or developing a long-term friendship, to illustrate these relationship-building strategies. She lays out the steps a company should take to create a collaboration-friendly organization: establishing a social mission, values, and ethical guidelines; assessing corporate readiness for collaboration; and making changes in communication, information and reward systems to support internal and external collaboration. Featuring case study examples from companies in North America and Europe who are working to build collaborative relationships with their stakeholders, The Stakeholder Strategy is the first book to provide a detailed explanation of how to conduct stakeholder audits and social audits so that companines can evaluate their relationship-building success and keep on track.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Preface
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. 1. Why Build Collaborative Stakeholder Relationships?
    1. Stakeholder Collaboration versus Stakeholder Management
    2. Building Stakeholder Relationships
    3. Stakeholder Collaboration on the Ground
    4. Opportunities and Challenges
    5. A New Approach to Corporate-Stakeholder Relations
    6. What’s in This Book
  7. 2. Stakeholder Collaboration and the Bottom Line
    1. Are Socially Responsible Companies More Profitable?
    2. Direct and Indirect Links with Profitability
    3. A Business Case for Stakeholder Collaboration
    4. Building Relationships with Customers
    5. Building Relationships with Suppliers
    6. Building Relationships with Communities
    7. Building Relationships with Employees
    8. The Environment as Stakeholder
  8. 3. A Model for Corporate-Stakeholder Relations
    1. A Contracting Framework
    2. Systems Theory and Corporate-Stakeholder Relations
    3. VanCity Credit Union Builds Relationships with Micro Communities: A Case Study
  9. 4. A Guide to FOSTERing Stakeholder Relationships
    1. Finding the “Third Way”
    2. Definitions and Scope
    3. Six Stages in FOSTERing Collaborative Relationships
  10. 5. Corporate Mission, Values, and Ethics—A Foundation for Relationship Building
    1. Relationship Building As a Strategic Direction
    2. What Is a Social Mission?
    3. Corporate Values That Support Collaboration
    4. Creating an Ethical Corporate Culture
    5. Communicating Corporate Commitment and Values
  11. 6. Aligning Corporate Systems and Structures
    1. Why Align Systems Before Reaching Out to Build Relationships?
    2. Systems and Structures That Support Collaboration
    3. Internal and External Communication Systems
    4. Information Systems
    5. New Mind-Set, Skill-Set, and Organizational Support
    6. Risk Taking and Experimentation
    7. How Ready Is Your Organization?
    8. Identifying Gaps and Inconsistencies
    9. Organizational Transformation and Change Processes
    10. Why Is Dialogue Valuable in Developing Collaborative Stakeholder Relationships?
    11. Designing a Dialogue Session
  12. 7. Developing a Stakeholder Strategy
    1. Stakeholder-Focused Corporate Strategy
    2. What Is a Stakeholder Strategy?
    3. Assessing Stakeholder Relationships
    4. Informal Dialogue with Stakeholders
    5. Establishing Stakeholder Goals
    6. Setting Up Internal Structures
    7. Action Planning
  13. 8. Harnessing the Power of Long-Term Relationships
    1. Types of Collaborative Relationships
    2. The Context for Collaborative Action
    3. Challenges Involved in Collaboration
    4. Designing an Effective Collaborative Process
  14. 9. Social Accounting—An Essential Management Tool
    1. Review of Social Accounting Methods
    2. From Public Relations to Value Alignment: Different Methods for Different Purposes
    3. Problems with Social Accounting
    4. A New Management-Oriented Approach to Social Accounting
  15. 10. Stakeholder Audit: A Tool for Assessing and Improving Stakeholder Relationships
    1. Define the Purpose and Scope of the Stakeholder Audit
    2. Clarify Social Mission, Values, and Goals
    3. Perform Baseline Assessment and Gap Analysis
    4. Design a Social Performance Monitoring System
    5. Prepare a Stakeholder Audit Report
    6. Align Corporate Systems and Structures
    7. Stakeholder Auditing and Performance Management
  16. 11. The Future of Corporate-Stakeholder Relations
    1. It’s a New World
    2. What’s a Company to Do?
  17. Notes
  18. About the Author
  19. Index