Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society

Volume 24, 2013

Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Meeting

Thomas Schneider
Pages 214-225

Stakeholder Identities, Trust and Cooperation
A Social Identity Perspective

I introduce a conceptualization of stakeholders as social groups and of stakeholder relationships as intergroup processes. Drawing on instrumental stakeholder theory and social identity theory, I argue that salient stakeholder identities affect trust and cooperation in issue-based stakeholder relationships differently. Two web-based experimental studies are presented to support this claim. Study 1 (N = 115) provides evidence for the negative impact of salient specific stakeholder identities on trust and cooperation among stakeholders in the context of a complex issue. Study 2 (N = 83) introduces the concept of a superordinated stakeholder identity to counteract these harmful consequences of salient specific stakeholder identities. Further, both studies support the hypothesis of intergroup trust being a mediator of the relationship between an individual’s identification with a stakeholder group and cooperation.