Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society

Volume 15, 2004

Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual Meeting

James E. Mattingly
Pages 418-424

Accounting for Agency at the Nexus of Institutional and Stakeholder Theorizing

In this paper, I formulate a theory to explain the occurrence of qualitatively distinct types of firm-stakeholder relationships. It proceeds by distinguishing between components of firms’ relational activities and relating those distinct activities to separate components of stakeholder salience attributes. Institutional explanations are offered to explain how salience components of legitimacy and urgency may be associated with different types of firm-stakeholder activities than is power. Limitations of the theory are examined, especially recognizing that stakeholder governance mechanisms external to the firm may often condition similarly managers' attitudes as well as firm-level culture, and action.