Purpose – This paper seeks to examine whether the stakeholder strategy matrix provides useful guidance for managers in dealing with stakeholders. The matrix suggests that strategies for dealing with stakeholders can be determined based on stakeholder ability to cooperate and threaten organisational outcomes.
Design/methodology/approach – The study uses a hypothetical scenario looking at the development of a new environmentally friendly product, where eight stakeholder groups and their influencing abilities are manipulated. Marketers reviewed one version of the scenario and were then asked the applicability of 13 strategies for each stakeholder group described. Mixed design analysis is then undertaken to examine the direct effects and interactions between the four combinations of influencing abilities, the stakeholder group examined or how the strategy suggested impacted on managers' views.
Findings – The research found that there was an interaction effect suggesting that some strategies were more applicable to stakeholders with certain sets of influencing abilities, as the stakeholder strategy matrix suggested. The specific stakeholder group examined also appeared to impact on managers' views, which is inconsistent with the theory. Research limitations/implications – The limitations are that the research focused on managers' perceptions of the applicability of strategies, rather than the actual success of strategies examined. Research into the effectiveness of actual behaviours would possibly require more in-depth examination of case studies.
Practical implications – The research suggests that the stakeholder strategy matrix may provide some guidance as to how managers deal with stakeholders. However, it also suggests that managers may be implicitly applying influencing abilities to groups irrespective of their “true” influencing ability. In this case managers are in fact ignoring valuable information when deciding how to interact with stakeholders and therefore possibly using less effective strategies to interact with stakeholders.
Originality/value – The research is unique as it looks at determining whether different types of strategies for dealing with stakeholders are perceived to be more or less effective. This therefore seeks to make stakeholder theory more strategic and applicable in a broader set of contexts. As such the paper would be of interest to managers seeking to understand better how to deal with stakeholders and to theorists seeking to understand better how stakeholder theory impacts on organisational outcomes.
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Field of Research
150399 Business and Management not elsewhere classified
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