Engaging with stakeholders or constructing them? Attitudes and assumptions in stakeholder software
Hughes, Patrick and Demetrious, Kristin 2006, Engaging with stakeholders or constructing them? Attitudes and assumptions in stakeholder software, Journal of corporate citizenship, no. 23, Autumn, pp. 93-101.
New activists are engaging in a range of extra-parliamentary activities, including extensive use of the internet, to create political change at local, national and international levels. As new activists become more effective, more sophisticated and, above all, more organised, traditional public relations or ‘PR spin’ is increasingly exposed as not just ineffective, but also an unethical way to respond to criticisms. But growing numbers of state and business organisations are trying to create new relationships with stakeholders that are inclusive, sustainable and aligned with the principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR). A range of stakeholder communication software packages claim to guide and support organisations wishing to create such relationships. However, these software packages can do more than merely offer guidance and support. They can actively influence how an organisation engages with stakeholders by embodying particular discourses that construct stakeholders as adversaries. This article examines two stakeholder software packages, showing how each one’s rhetoric of inclusion accompanies discourses that recreate adversarial relationships between organisation and stakeholders. The article sets such developments against the broad backdrop of developing notions of CSR, arguing that the uncritical use of stakeholder communication packages can reduce CSR to ‘more PR spin’.
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Field of Research
200199 Communication and Media Studies not elsewhere classified
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