Lite J. Nartey
Visiting Professor of Strategy
Stakeholder; Dialog; Reciprocity; Engagement; Communications
Scholars of stakeholder management have long grappled with the question of how to communicate with stakeholders to enhance cooperation and reduce conflict. The authors build on insights from the literature on stakeholder dialog to highlight the importance of four elements of firm–stakeholder dialog processes: timing, valence, richness, and topicality of firms’ responses to stakeholder engagements.The authors demonstrate a link between these elements of the firm–stakeholder dialog process and changes in stakeholder cooperation or conflict with the firm, as well as contingent tradeoffs among them.Specifically, the authors show that the relative importance of these elements is contingent upon stakeholder type and status. Government actors prioritize richness and topicality over timeliness and valence. Economic actors, by contrast, prioritize timeliness and valence. Civil society stakeholders prioritize timeliness, valence, and topicality over richness. Low-status actors across sectors deprioritize topicality and richness while high-status actors demand attentiveness to all four elements.