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Total Stakeholding: Leading stakeholder networks to sustainable success

Masterarbeit 2011 187 Seiten

BWL - Unternehmensführung, Management, Organisation


Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

List of abbreviations

1 Introduction
1.1 Background of the topic an reason for its choice
1.1.1 Initiation for the project
1.1.2 reason for this project
1.2 Research content
1.2.1 Research question
1.2.2 Supporting objectives
1.2.3 Scope
1.2.4 Purpose and contribution
1.2.5 Chapter overview

2 The manual - Research methodology
2.1 Foreword
2.2 Research Theory
2.2.1 Research philosophy
2.2.2 Research Approach
2.2.3 Research strategy
2.2.4 The Time horizon
2.2.5 The enquiry
2.3 Research in practice
2.3.1 Research area
2.3.2 Research guideline
2.3.3 Research information resources
2.3.4 Research keywords
2.3.5 Usability of data
2.3.6 Handling of findings
2.4 Concluding remarks

3 The aim - Sustainable Success
3.1 Substance
3.1.1 The component success
3.1.2 The component sustainability
3.1.3 The outcome sustainable success
3.2 The importance of sustainable success
3.2.1 General
3.2.2 Affecting people
3.2.3 Affecting Finances
3.2.4 Affecting reputation
3.2.5 Affecting ethical responsibility
3.2.6 Affecting response to regulations and legislations
3.4 Barriers of achieving sustainable success
3.5 Concluding Remarks

4 The tool - Stakeholder Management
4.1 The basics
4.1.1 Definition
4.1.2 Distinction of stakeholders
4.1.3 Principles of stakeholder management
4.1.4 Stakeholder management theories
4.1.5 Putting stakeholder Management into practice
4.2 Link to sustainable success
4.3 Concluding remarks

5 The enabler – Leadership
5.1 Defining leadership
5.2 The link of leadership to stakeholder management
5.3 Required leadership characteristics
5.3.1 Realistic
5.3.2 Intellectual / Nous
5.3.3 Disclosing
5.3.4 Generous
5.3.5 Good faith
5.3.6 Solid
5.3.7 Visionary
5.3.8 Righteous
5.5 Concluding remarks

6 The proposal – Total Stakeholding
6.1 Criteria for useable frameworks
6.2 Existing models
6.2.1 Freeman’s model redefined
6.2.2 The EFQM-model
6.3 The developed framework
6.3.1 General description
6.3.2 User’s manual
6.3.3 Stakeholder
6.3.4 Leadership
6.3.5 Sustainable success
6.3.6 Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA)
6.4 Discussion of frameworks and validity of the proposed
6.5 Concluding remarks

7 Discussion
7.1 Scope
7.2 Sustainable success
7.3 Stakeholder management
7.4 Leadership
7.5 Specific literature
7.6 Methodology & Data collection

8 Conclusion

9 Limitations & recommendations for further work
9.1 Resilience
9.2 Quadruple bottom line
9.3 Growth
9.4 Contract theory
9.5 Organisational structure
9.6 Scoring system

10 References

11 Bibliography

12 Appendices
12.1 Ways of data collection
12.1.1 Surveys
12.1.2 Case studies
12.1.3 Secondary Data
12.2 Search string table
12.3 Detailed stakeholder list
12.4 Stakeholder allocation to sustainability aspects
12.5 Identified stakeholder by Fassin (2009)
12.6 RADAR assessment for results
12.7 RADAR assessment for enabler

List of figures

Figure 1 - Research process "onion" by Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill (2003:83)

Figure 2 - Research areas

Figure 3 - Flow chart literature review (adapted from Hart (1998))

Figure 4 - Buzzword procedure

Figure 5 - Stakeholder map according to Freeman (1984)

Figure 6 - Paperlinx's stakeholder circle

Figure 7 - Daimler's stakeholder model

Figure 8 - ArchSD's stakeholder matrix

Figure 9 - Seven principles by Clarkson (1995)

Figure 10 - Nested stakeholder management theories by Donaldson and Preston (1995)

Figure 11 - Process model to implement stakeholder management (by Preble, 2005)

Figure 12 - Categorising stakeholders

Figure 13 - Stakeholder map by Fassin (2009)

Figure 14 – The EFQM model

Figure 15 - Vaillant's excellence model

Figure 16 - Vaillant's business processes

Figure 17 – Total Stakeholding

Figure 18 - Stakeholder triad principle

Figure 19 - Triangular stakeholder relationship by Fassin (2009)

Figure 20 - Stakeholder triad example

List of tables

Table 1 - Boolean logic

Table 2 - Reliability and Validity criteria

List of abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

1 Introduction

1.1 Background of the topic an reason for its choice

1.1.1 Initiation for the project

To introduce this work the author refers to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011, which took place in Davos from the 26th – 30th of January 2011, its agendas and reports (The World Economic Forum, 2011).

At first view this meeting looks like a get-together of several leaders from different backgrounds, meaning leaders from different industries as well as political and religious leaders. But the huge amount of attendees and their position in the world turns this get-together into a platform to discuss strategies and solutions for the world’s future economy and how to overcome the latest issues regarding the financial crisis. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Shared norms for a new reality”, indicating, that the world has reached a turning point where change is important to assure a sustainable future. Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of Thailand, for example states “Governments and businesses should start revising their social contracts with their stakeholders in the light of the new realities of the post-crisis world”. Furthermore his concern is that today’s leaders are mostly just focused on the short-term success, due to the high pressure from their shareholders and thus work in their own borders without caring about the common good outside the borders in order to generate sustainable success. This concern gets a higher emphasis by Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, who actually attacks today’s businesspeople and want to send them back to university because they just aim for short-term profits, rather than worrying about a sustainable future. In addition it is about the future leadership role of China considering multi stakeholders to achieve win-win solutions (Victor Chu, First Eastern Investment Group), leadership for people (Christine Lagarde, French Minister of Finance) and finally an optimistic outlook for the future, especially Europe, and the request of change and more transparency by David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. At the end buzzwords like stakeholders, sustainability, partnership, social responsibility, growth, balance and responsible leadership, just to name a few, can be found throughout all statements. As a matter of course all these statements are in a broader context meaning global issues, but can easily transferred to normal businesses.

1.1.2 reason for this project

Sustainability has become, as seen above, a huge topic paired with a more social behaviour for the common good and let the feeling arise that a new era has begun, that some of the main leaders have started to develop a new “Zeitgeist”. The question now is how this dissertation can contribute to the on-going change in order to achieve sustainable success.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Sustainable success is depended on the competitive advantages, which is often tried to gain through reengineering, process improvement, etc. According to Huber, Scharioth, & Pallas (2004) this is initially a good idea, but even if there are differences putting these into practice, the performance standard is often quite similar and the competitive advantage, which is won by these initiatives, is not as significant as desired. That is why they are putting the emphasis on stakeholder management with the purpose to not left the relationships with stakeholders on its own. Stakeholder management is actually an idea developed within the 80’s by Freeman (1984) in order to strategically align the stakeholder’s interest, using a rough framework, finally resulting in improved success (Stoney & Winstanley, 2001). Success is nowadays often seen in form of financial benefits and at least in this point Berman, Wicks, Kotha, & Jones (1999) see a positive impact on the part of stakeholder management. Nonetheless sustainable success is not just about finances and thus it is interesting to investigate what sustainable success is and how stakeholder management nurtures all its components.

But why is each stakeholder so important? Giving some examples according to Huber, Scharioth, & Pallas (2004), it points out that no matter if employees or suppliers they all have an essential impact on the business. Employees for instance have a high impact on the customer retention and company’s profitability (improvement of 20% - 50%) and therefore put before customer by Nayar (2010). On the other hand suppliers need a lot of attention, due to ‘Outsourcing’, ‘Lean’ and scarcity of raw materials, to get required quality, quantity and delivery time. But also other external stakeholders are from high importance to avoid higher financial risks, as already pointed out in the 1990s by McGuire in Savage, Nix, Whitehead, & Blair (1991), and thus must be managed well in order to not loose the support of a specific group and thus getting hindered on the journey to sustainable success (Reynolds, Schultz, & Hekman, 2006). This is where “managing”, also understood as “balancing” (Avery, 2005), the different interests comes into play, whereas it can become difficult, if the company is highly depending on one specific stakeholder. This could be an investor, who is holding a lot of shares, or a supplier, who is having a monopole, leading to generated bias and an exposure of sustainability (Savage, Nix, Whitehead, & Blair, 1991). Furthermore a company or a company network respectively, is seen as an alliance of stakeholders (Freeman, Harrison, & Wicks, 2007), and their sustainable success is ensured by sticking together and behaving like a moving target (De Wit & Meyer, 2005), in order to withstand evolutions in the industry and the corresponding challenges. It also could be refereed to a company as organisation, an amalgamation of people or groups of people with the aim of accomplishing productive activities, which is seen as difficult on an individual basis (Chemers, 1997).

However there are also arguments against stakeholder management as enabler for sustainable success (Stoney & Winstanley, 2001), at which the only purpose of a company is seen by Friedman (1962) in Stoney & Winstanley (2001) in making profit and thus stakeholder management is an attack on the individual wealth of shareholders (Sternberg, 1997). In addition stakeholder management has found one of its biggest critics in Stoney & Winstanley (2001) who complain about the complexity of this approach and finally its misuse as just a new tool to control the participants. Nonetheless these concerns are generally based on traditional and old-fashioned views and the question arises if the time is ripe for change, meaning the move away from just sustainable shareholder success.

Considering the criticism above it seems that one of the biggest drawbacks of stakeholder management is the actual realisation, meaning the consideration of everyone’s interest. This is why De Wit & Meyer (2005) see good leadership skills as crucial to balance the discrepancies mostly between shareholders and other stakeholders, and lead through an alliance with different partners, affected by mistrust, due to fear that others always want a bigger part of the cake. So one major pitfall of leaders regarding stakeholder management is that of avoiding bias. There are differences between the stakeholders, for instance regarding the flexibility. Employees are mostly depending on their workplace, whereas shareholders can always choose from a wide range or portfolio of possible investments and therefore the risk of favouring shareholders is quite high (De Wit & Meyer, 2005), caused in their higher direct influence (Savage, Nix, Whitehead, & Blair, 1991). Additionally it should be born in mind that CEO's and the board often hold a share of the own company or are even obligated to, according to several financial reports (e.g. Finsbury, Reckitt Benckiser). Thus the own opulence is affected by the profitability of the company. In this case a bias is self-evident.

On the other hand advocates of stakeholder management see the necessity for shareholder value (Freeman, Harrison, & Wicks, 2007), but state that it can be just sustainably realised if it is not seen as the main purpose, according to William George, chairman of Medtronic, in De Wit & Meyer (2005). Instead of focusing on shareholder value, the actual focus should be concentrated on “customer satisfaction” and “integrity” as stated by Porras & Collins (2005). In addition a motivated workforce can be seen as a crucial aspect of sustainable success, due to difficulties of competitors to copy it (De Wit & Meyer, 2005). Buying in the workforce, but also other stakeholders, by creating a vision, maintaining it and finally make it live through the whole company is seen as one of the major and most difficult tasks of a leader (Ware, Michaels, & Primer, 2004) and thus leaders often lacking clear direction during this task and therefore fail (Wheeler, Fabig, & Boele, 2002). In order to make the organisation in a highly competitive market successful it is important to have a stable financial support, but also a highly trained and motivated workforce (Post, Preston, & Sachs, 2002), often requiring a crucial change in the fundamental structure, like financial and/or ownership model (Avery, 2005). These changes are hindered by insufficient human resource models and techniques, the question how to get the employees aboard and finally the persuasion of the upper management, shareholders, etc. (Simmons, 2003). This can be eased the more the leader is convinced of the performance improvement using stakeholder management (Stoney & Winstanley, 2001). The fact that people already having assets and power are not willed to share this (Gamble & Kelly, 1996) and thus will defend it with all legal means or maybe also illegal, does not make it easier for the leader to put stakeholder management through. The globalisation and the expansion of companies throughout the world held another challenge for the leaders. Business policies must be kept flexible, as basis to deal with different countries, cultures and thus unusual competitive and social conditions and at the same time stick to the fundamental values and principles of the organisation (Post, Preston, & Sachs, 2002). Talking about flexibility, it is important to see the flexibility of stakeholders in terms of changing from a supporting to a hampering position (Savage, Nix, Whitehead, & Blair, 1991) and therefore the necessity to always reassess the importance and influence of stakeholders (Reynolds, Schultz, & Hekman, 2006). In addition leaders need to focus on the right stakeholders in the right situations, different from the CEO of Eastern Airlines who was focusing during a strike just on the stakeholders with the loudest voice, and thus ran into serious trouble regarding the other parties of the strike (Savage, Nix, Whitehead, & Blair, 1991). Additionally an issue arises that stakeholder may get the feeling that the decision-making regarding stakeholders is negatively influenced by divisibility of resources, saliency, incentives and sanctions (Ogden & Watson, 1999) and let fade away the initial willingness to find a fair balance (Reynolds, Schultz, & Hekman, 2006). This is why leaders must be prepared for the future challenges, which are a lot more complex, due to a wider range of expectations by the stakeholders, globalisation and more common pressing problems. So finally wrap the power of all stakeholders to a “value network”, considering the creation of social capital and a benefit for every participant (Maak, 2007) is the responsibility of the leader.

Stakeholder Management provides a framework, a concept, which can be used by leaders, who are at the end the persons decide how stakeholder management is understood and what is the driving motivation behind its implementation (Stoney & Winstanley, 2001). It was even thought about legislating SM and thus make it compulsory for companies, what is seen critical by Stoney & Winstanley (2001), because in their opinion company’s leaders should practice stakeholder management voluntary and chose their driver for motivation themselves.

Today’s environment and the resulting circumstances are continuously changing and require a leader who is always questioning the current status of a company and its direction in a constructive and meaningful way (Ware, Michaels, & Primer, 2004). Therefore the leader is seen as a key catalyst in defining success of a company (Shinkle, Gooding, & Smith, 2006) and also in order to make change happen to the benefit of sustainable success. Seeing sustainable success as a long-term goal leaders are confronted and hindered by external requirements, like the publication of financial reports (Avery, 2005) and thus it becomes a challenge for them to remain committed and thus have the required authentic “tone at the top” (Freeman, Harrison, & Wicks, 2007). They will decide about success or failure of changes while acting as a role model and therefore have the requirement of caring about ethics and social responsibility, rather than just on making quick money.

Finally it is about the ensemble of stakeholders and leaders who need a practical guideline to make their contribution for the organisation’s and common good, leading to the following research question and its supporting objectives.

1.2 Research content

1.2.1 Research question

“What elements and characteristics of leadership would help organisations to achieve missing sustainable success through effective stakeholder management?”

1.2.2 Supporting objectives

1. Investigate and define sustainable success, stakeholder management and leadership with the purpose to identify what is understood by it and what are their characteristics.

2. Investigate the correlations and dependencies between sustainable success and stakeholder management to approve their complementarity.

3. Identify how leadership can overcome possible barriers of balancing stakeholders and creating sustainable success.

4. Investigate existing guidance and frameworks for the creation of sustainable success, in order to underpin their validity or propose modifications.

1.2.3 Scope

The scope of this work is chosen very broadly, due to the nature of the project and its research areas. It is about management in general and is not aiming to be specialised on a specific industry or region. Reason therefore is the involvement of several parties, eventually coming from different industries and indeed the globalisation that does not allow investigating management tools with a narrowed regional view.

However the scope is laid on business organisations. Therefore the outcome is neither focused on politics, an area worth investigating in the context of stakeholder management, nor religion.

1.2.4 Purpose and contribution

The purpose of this work is to show companies and their leaders a way to manage their stakeholders in form of a proposed framework, to achieve sustainable success. As already mentioned in the introduction, an atmosphere of departure has arisen, due to the last happenings within the economy as well as in the politics. The outcome of this work will be an initiation to change by showing leaders how their characteristics can help to establish a win-win situation between stakeholders. Furthermore it shows the need for today’s leaders to care about all stakeholders and that this is not just a matter of instruments, concepts and tools to achieve a balanced stakeholder environment, it is more about the mind-set, behaviour and confidence of the leader itself. It requires a lot of energy and stamina to achieve sustainable success and leaders will face a lot of problems and confrontations. Presenting these issues and discuss them in depth will hopefully support them to defend their view of organisational success.

1.2.5 Chapter overview

Following it is roughly stated why the chapters 2-8 are included in this work.

2 The manual - Research methodology

2.1 Foreword

This chapter aims to enhance the reliability and validity of this work by stating how it was gone through the research. This contains the identification of the underlying research philosophy and the determination of the arising research strategy, indicated as the theory. In addition it deals with the collection of data and information especially with regard to the reliability of sources and thus how the practical aspects.

2.2 Research Theory

2.2.1 Research philosophy

Dependent on the personal belief of the author the research philosophy is the starting point of the methodology. The reason reveals by having a look at the research process onion (Figure 1).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1 - Research process "onion" by Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill (2003:83)

Positivism and interpretivism are the two extreme philosophies of (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2007), which are identified by others as positivism and constructism (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, & Jackson, 2008) or positivism and phenomenology (Denscombe, 2007). In the middle of these philosophies the realism (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2003) or relativism (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, & Jackson, 2008) was positioned. (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2007) have identified several more philosophies, which are excluded from consideration, due to see no further support throughout the literature.

The positive research design is suitable for researcher who are convinced that there are true answers which needs to be identified and proven, with hypothesises and their confirmation through experimental methods (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, & Jackson, 2008). The author did not believe in an outcome that can be threaten as a law (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2003:83), indicated by the research question (see 1.2.1) aiming for characteristics that would help, rather than definitely do, enable it.

At the end the author believed in an outcome and an answer that is difficult to understand, due to several occurring variables (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, & Jackson, 2008), which have an impact on the general behaviour of people, in this case the leaders. However it was assumed that there are certain patterns in characteristics that, from a macro point of view, can be seen as valid. This was why some generalisation of characteristics that are independent of the human belief were expected (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2003:84) and therefore has led to a realism philosophy behind the research.

Result = Realism philosophy

2.2.2 Research Approach

Following the approach of Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill (2003) it was about deciding how the approach should look like, whether it is inductive or deductive. With research areas being discussed in a lot of literature the deductive approach was self-evident, whereas hypotheses are concluded and approved by further research. Even though Creswell (1994) states in Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill (2003) that an inductive approach better suits newer topics, whereas stakeholder management and leadership are definitely not, it has its benefits. Its main argument was that there are a lot of debates about these research areas out there as well as the fact that it avoids a narrowed view. Gathering information and data and constructing on this a theory or framework respectively was the aim of this work and allows to avoid the exclusion of specific leadership characteristics, as it may happen in a deductive approach. The topics are too complex too deduce a theory after some review of the literature.

Result = Inductive approach

2.2.3 Research strategy

It was fundamental to think about how the aim can be achieved, meaning which choices should be made regarding the gathering of data and its analysis (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, & Jackson, 2008). Therefore the most famous approaches, surveys in form of interviews or questionnaires, case studies and secondary data had been investigated (details in 12.1).

The case study can be eliminated as research option, due to its narrowed focus, the fact that a sample size of 4-10 is required and thus the effort high (12.1.2). But at the end the crucial factor against a case study was the missing contact to companies, so that Denscombe’s (2007) concern of having issues with contacting companies and accessing their mostly confidential data would have become a major risk for failure. With regard to the primary data collection the option of using surveys (12.1.1) is still available. However a survey just makes sense if the data are not accessible in another way. The preliminary research found out that the literature, including surveys as well as books and journals containing data like surveys and interviews are available. Apart from avoiding resource constraints like money and time the secondary data allows a broader authentic cross research and finally allow to not waste time by gathering already existing data (12.1.3). These major reasons in addition to the beforehand mentioned other reasons made the decision to conduct a dissertation relying on a conceptual literature review that aims for the development of a theoretical framework (Wolf, 2008:67).

Result = Conceptual literature review (secondary data)

2.2.4 The Time horizon

Important with view to the research procedure is the duration of time that is investigated. That is more important for investigations based on primary research but should be quickly touched on. Gathering secondary data it is not about getting a snapshot to a certain point of time it is more likely to be longitudinal. That represents the investigation of trends and changes over a longer period of time (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2003:96) and therefore including the evolution and the development in the investigated areas.

Result = Longitudinal

2.2.5 The enquiry

It is differentiated between exploratory, descriptive and explanatory studies (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2003:96). According to the authors explanatory research is aiming to explain the relationship between several variables after a set of observations. Did not see this fitting to the research question there is the alternative of choosing the descriptive way of research, according to (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2003:97) often used as complementary to exploratory research. Investigating in the first instance the facts about sustainable success and stakeholder management, it was aimed to draw a clear picture of these research areas arguing for a descriptive research. Subsequent the plan was to take this clear picture, see what was found and what they point out (Robson, 2003:399) and according to this build up a theory, resulting in the exploratory studies. Wolf (2008:65) adds that the exploratory research allows a high flexibility and thus enables the author to bring in novel insights and see things from a different perspective.

Result = Descriptive followed by exploratory studies

2.3 Research in practice

Having identified the underlying theory of the research it is about putting it into practice. Due to the fact that the work relies exclusively on secondary data it is necessary to point out how the literature is systematically identified (Torraco, 2005), and reviewed and how it is assured that the needed quality standard is met.

2.3.1 Research area

With regard to the overall aim of this work, three main subjects were identified: Sustainable Success, Stakeholder Management and Leadership. Figure 2 below shows how they come together and at the end identifies the research area, containing common issues this dissertation will deal with. Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

At the end of the literature review the research areas Sustainable Success, Stakeholder Management and Leadership will be investigated in order to answer the research question (1.2.1). So far preliminary the identified research area was studied in order to define the project and show evidence that generating sustainable success is suffering from stakeholder management, which in turn is due to ineffective leadership, shown in the introduction (1.1.2). In the following this area is further studied to identify how leadership can support stakeholder management for the sake of generating sustainable success.

2.3.2 Research guideline

For the purpose of accomplishing a literature review, which is appropriately investigated in depth and breadth, nowadays flexible cross-disciplinary research is necessary. In order to not lose track the “Hart-model” was chosen to ensure the beforehand mentioned attributes by following a sequence of questions, (Hart, 1998:14). In addition he identifies eleven criteria a literature review should fulfil. The latter gets support by Boote & Beile (2005) agreeing in general on these points but modify and reduce them to nine. Below the question model according to Hart (1998:14) is shown, which was extended by one more question (No 10). This is caused in the nature of the topic located in the management science and thus often brings a lot of discrepancies and arguments with it, like discussions about stakeholder management and the business case for CSR.

1. What are the key theories, concepts and ideas?
2. What are the epistemological and ontological grounds for the discipline?
3. What are the main questions and problems that have been addressed to date?
4. How is knowledge on the topic structured and organised?
5. What are the origins and definitions of the topics?
6. What are the political standpoints?
7. What are major issues and debates about the topic?
8. What are the key sources?
9. How have approaches to these questions increased our understanding and knowledge?
10. What are the points several authors or even everyone is agreeing on?

These guiding questions support the answer of the research objectives and allows to critically evaluate the literature. This guarantees that the work of the dissertation is not already done, set the scene about the status quo of the topic and finally give the researcher a proper understanding of the research area.

The question arose in which sequence the literature should be reviewed. Following the approach of Hart (1998) a modified model was created and is shown below in Figure 3.

2.3.3 Research information resources Soft literature

The main research tool of this dissertation was the Internet and its wide variety of possibilities of unprinted and thus digital documents refereed to as soft literature, summing up the best practice of “personalised” mass media (Jones S. , 1999:3). Having chosen the Internet as research tool brings the major benefit of being able to access a lot wider variety of literature in a shorter period of time with it (Mann & Stewart, 2000:17). That allows the project to get a broader view and make it a lot more valuable.

Regarding the search for online material different ways to find relevant literature were available. Generally it is about search engines to type in buzzwords and find corresponding literature (Rowley & Slack, 2004), mostly journals but also books, conference papers, videos and podcasts. The most common search engine is Google and thus is, due to familiarity, often used by students to find literature, whereas it turns out that just a third of the results is of scholarly nature and therefore “good enough” (Currie, Devlin, Emde, & Graves, 2010). Having journals and books as the main sources, three different approaches will be conducted in order to answer the guiding questions (2.3.2) with regard to the research areas (2.3.1).

- Databases: A searching directly in databases is the best way for repeatable search results. Normal search engines are seen as unreliable in this context due to always get updated, renewing the timestamp and thus let always occur other results in different orders (Wouters, Hellsten, & Leydesdorff, 2004). In addition they provide the most reliable source for finding scholarly literature, which are build upon a more theoretical basis considering criticisms (Rowley & Slack, 2004), especially in comparison to Google Scholar (Currie, Devlin, Emde, & Graves, 2010).
- Google Scholar: This option gives the opportunity to also consider, in contrast to databases, conference papers and a broader spectrum of available journals, like practitioner journal, which are also seen as having their place in reviewing the literature (Rowley & Slack, 2004). Of course they need to be read more carefully, always keeping in mind that they are often written by consultants, but still offering a good insight to the state of the art, suggesting frameworks, policies, etc. However especially frameworks of professionals can be challenged to prove the own understanding of a topic.
- Google: The “normal” search engine Google could be seen as one step under Google Scholar with view to reliable sources. Not giving profound empirical evidence for the author, it is still a valuable source of getting ideas and inspiration, as well as can act as a source for more reliable references.

Apart from using literature another possibility is to pick out a journal relating to the specific topic and skim this journal for the last 4 years. This assures that the latest relevant and also unique papers of the topic are not missed (Helmer, Savoie, Green, & Kazanjian, 2001).

In addition another type of literature, which can be used are dictionaries and encyclopaedias, especially when it come to the point where the specific vocabulary needs to be translated into a more common language (O'Leary, 2004:67).

Official publications, statistics and open accessible surveys will play an important role, especially in this work due to be purely literature based and thus it is resigned to gather primary data. Reason therefore is the use of secondary data for the data analysis (O'Leary, 2004:68), in this work concentrating on written documentary, journals, websites, newspapers and ad-hoc surveys undertaken by governments and organisations (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2007:249) Especially the documentary is seen as the most common one, which can either be used in combination with primary data or as a stand alone like in this dissertation (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2007:248). Nonetheless gathering secondary data is a venture requiring a high degree of attention and needs some critical assessment in order to make them reliable. While governmental surveys and surveys undertaken by Mintel or Keynote are seen as generally reliable other documents should be considered as vague, especially when the methodology of its collection is not stated (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2007:267). This is why the major focus lies here on journals whilst they are containing methodology and the trustful databases.

Journals are seen as the kind of literature, which should build the core of this work. That is founded in their contemporary content that is relevant to the state of the art while being conceived for academics and thus validated (O'Leary, 2004) in order to fulfil the high quality standard of the target audience. Hard literature

In the era of the Internet it should not forget about the hard literature more precisely books or all other printed documents. They still play a crucial role in terms of conducting a literature review. Due to the long period of time for origination, they might not be first choice for the latest findings (O'Leary, 2004), but are excellent to get an overview about the ideas so far occurred with view to the topic (Rowley & Slack, 2004) and to give a good fundamental understanding of a specific topic (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2007). In the context of this work Freeman (1984) for example is one pillar of this dissertation, due to be the first book promoting the idea of stakeholder management.

2.3.4 Research keywords

A table (12.2) was developed in order to create an overview about the keywords used to ensure getting sufficient, relevant and appropriate material as results searching the literature. The time has changed and lack of information has turned into a flood of information (Ary, Jacobs, Razavieh, & Sorensen, 2009:75) and thus a starting point should be established for the sake of getting the required basic information based on the suggestion of (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2007:74) to create sub areas in principle like a relevance tree.

Indeed due to the massive amount not every article could be considered and thus the headline were further skimmed and individually decided whether the article seems to be relevant. But undertaking a literature review it is from benefit to conduct an extensive review of the literature, (Khan, Kunz, Kleijnen, & Antes, 2003) including soft literature as well as traditional “hard” literature, at which it has to be systematic, explicit and reproducible (Fink, 1998). 12.2 shows the systematic and explicit approach of reviewing the literature while stating the amount of accessible journals using the platform Business - ABI/INFORM global. Having 880 journals regarding stakeholder management & sustainability and 1359 regarding stakeholder management & leadership, underpins the assumption of enough available literature.

The above listed key words are by far not exhaustive. They were just used as a starting point to get the initial overview about the topics. Getting more into the literature new buzzwords will occur and be used for further research, while following the below presented scheme (Figure 4).

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Figure 4 - Buzzword procedure

Having identified words used for the research the Boolean logic is a good help to filter the results by giving the corresponding command (Blaxter, Hughes, & Tight, 2001:111; Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2007:78) as indicated below (Table 1).

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Table 1 - Boolean logic

2.3.5 Usability of data

Nowadays a lot of literature is published which actually can be used, so that following a guideline was established with criteria to assess the usability of existing literature. Practicality

Fink (1998) is suggesting a set of criteria with regard to asses the practicality of literature. This includes aspects like the author, the nature of journal, date of the journal or the research, but it was decided to just narrow this down by determining the language of the journal; Predominately English, but also German literature is considered, due to the author’s nationality. There is a concern to generally exclude certain literature just due to their age, range of participants or nature because the risk appears to miss valuable information. There is the possibility to differentiate between qualitative and quantitative data, when it comes to the point of investigating the primary research. For this research there will be no special focus put on this distinction in order to consider them as valuable for the review. Indeed analysing the findings this aspect has to be considered but just for the selection criteria of suitable literature it is more important to ensure that the data are high quality and reliable (Fink, 1998). Validity and Reliability

Journals and books present the basis for the research, but there are several other options available, mostly based on the Internet. Apart from websites also videos and podcasts provide a source of knowledge. Important regarding this point is, if the sources used are trustworthy or not. The author’s criteria for reliable and valid literature are presented below (Table 2) that were developed under consideration of the thoughts of Dawson (2009:42), Rowley & Slack (2004), Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill (2007) and Fink (1998).

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Table 2 - Reliability and Validity criteria

There are differences between the different sources and how meaningful they are. This is why journals and books are seen as the most used sources and the others act as supporters. Fundamental and essential information, etc. are gathered from journals and books whereas the rest is more used to set the scene around.

2.3.6 Handling of findings

Having reviewed the literature including a lot information, data, etc. it was about transforming this knowledge into a literature review. In order to structure gained knowledge a mind map or concept map will be used. Apart from giving structure it gave an advantage by enable to visualise relationships between concepts, ideas, etc. Hart (1998:155). Apart from this especially with view to three different areas it is possible to cluster these in a clear way and give different topics, an appropriate structure Hart (1998:155). This included for example definitions, criticism, different concepts and different interpretations of an idea and allows the identification of new search terms and combinations (Rowley & Slack, 2004).



ISBN (eBook)
11.8 MB
Institution / Hochschule
University of Warwick – Studiengang Management for Business Excellence
leadership sustainable stakeholder management business ethics triple bottom line



Titel: Total Stakeholding: Leading stakeholder networks to sustainable success