Stakeholder engagement and the responsibility assumption

2017-06-08T06:20:19Z (GMT) by Greenwood, Michelle
The purpose of this paper is to explicate the notion of stakeholder engagement and, in doing so, to dispel the common assumption that stakeholder engagement is necessarily a morally responsible practice. Stakeholder engagement is traditionally seen as corporate responsibility in action. Indeed, in some literature there exists an assumption that the more an organisation engages with its stakeholders, the more it is responsible. This simple 'more is better' view of stakeholder engagement belies the true complexity of the relationship between engagement and corporate responsibility. Stakeholder engagement may be understood in a variety of different ways and from a variety of different theoretical perspectives. Engagement based relationships may or may not involve a moral dimension. Hence, from even from an ethical point of view, engagement is not necessarily a moral practice. It is therefore argued that stakeholder engagement must be seen as separate from, but related to, corporate responsibility. A model that eflects the multifaceted relationship between the two constructs is proposed.