Stakeholder Engagement As Social (ir)responsibility
journal contributionposted on 2017-06-07, 05:38 authored by Greenwood, Michelle R.
The assumption of a direct and positive relationship between engagement of stakeholders and responsibility towards stakeholders within both practitioner and academic literature is a dilemma. There is an apparent soundness of logic to the assumption that the more an organisation engages with its stakeholders the more responsible and accountable the organisation is likely to be towards these stakeholders. This concurrence could exist, and perhaps we believe should exist, but to assume it necessarily does exist is highly problematic. It is problematic not just because it is may be inaccurate but, more importantly, because it may be misleading. I intend to make this case by firstly illustrating that this assumption exists in the literature though it is rarely made explicit. Next I will make a case for why it may not necessarily hold. I will show why it is essential to consider that the relationship between stakeholder engagement and responsibility may be a neutral relationship or, even more importantly, a negative relationship. Finally I will argue that, by erroneously assuming convergence, thus disallowing separation, the writer or practitioner is at risk of, intentionally or unintentionally, deceiving their audience.