Volume 25, 2014
Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting
Melissa Edwards, Adam J. Sulkowski
Shaking Stakeholders to Leverage a Firm’s Unique Capacity in Issue Networks
Firms are often seen to react to stakeholder pressure. However, if one changes the unit of analysis to a social or environmental issue, a firm emerges as a key influencer in mobilizing and connecting other stakeholders. For a variety of reasons, including the firm’s raison d’etre of creating value, a firm may be a critical leader or lynchpin in a movement, especially where it bridges gaps in a previously disconnected network. Two previously underappreciated aspects of stakeholder ties are highlighted in this paper. First, the firm can be seen as shaking otherwise latent stakeholders out of complacency, inasmuch as a firm informs and stimulates concerns, emotions, and actions among stakeholders in relation to a particular issue. Second, the firm can be seen as shaking-up the
connections between stakeholders, catalyzing new contacts and relationships within an issue network.