The role of Strategic Conversations with Stakeholders in the Formation of Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy.
The main discussion of this journal is to explore the role and the use of strategic conversations in corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy formation from a conceptual perspective to actual practices. Based on this research, the authors have given the strongly recommendation that by intensifying the stakeholder engagement in the CSR strategy-making process, through the mechanism of strategic conversations, will not only minimize the future stakeholder’s concerns and enhance CSR strategy making effectiveness but also maximize organizational sustainability.
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- The crucial role of stakeholder engagement in any strategy formulation process to make it effective and sustainable applying a number of practices in reality which is abstracted from Buysse and Verbeke seminal study, Maignan model, Atkinson, Post, and especially Monsanto’s experience.
* Illustrations of stakeholder engagement: Perceiving the benefits of using strategic conversations from many examples of organizations operating in diverse fields.
- Strategic conversations can help bridge critical gaps in perceptions through issue-oriented, fact-based open conflict between top management, BSEs, and relevant stakeholders. E.g. U.S’s National Reconnaissance Office.
- Strategic conversations are dynamic and recursive in nature, resulting in an increase in both the quantity and quality of information and technology transfers between top management, BSEs and relevant stakeholders. E.g. DuPont case.
- CSR-type strategic conversations can be effectively implemented through Internet and other progress in technology. E.g. Business Alliance for Local Living Economics, Atlanta the World Café, or HP. Additionally, the emergence of global CSR communication consulting firms have generated innovative methods for more direct engagement with stakeholders. E.g. SustainAbility Consultant.
- Strategic conversations between top management, BSEs, and stakeholders can be an instrumental component of a firm’s decision to adopt international environmental and social accountability standards and its subsequent implementation of the standards. E.g. ISO14000 environmental standards and SA8000 social accountability standards.
- Strategic conversations are valuable in the strategy formulation process because it allows top management, BSEs, and internal/external stakeholders to directly exchange knowledge about specific resources, the business in general and the macro environment. These benefits obtained from open, fact-based conflicts driven by honest, unfiltered information. E.g. Ericsson and Skandia cases.
* The role of strategic conversation in closing gaps
- There are always gaps between the perceptions of an organization’s top management, BSEs, and stakeholders in the implementation of strategic CSR management. These gaps can be extended to two type:
+ The Performance/Capability Gap - between Top Management-BSEs-Stakeholder’s perception of the firm’s CSR current performance and its capabilities.
+ The Future Gap - between Top Management-BSEs-Stakeholder’s perception of Future and the firm’s role in that future.
- The role of strategic conversations is to reduce the magnitude of the Performance/Capability gaps (thus providing a common ground upon which to base subsequent discussions) and to help bridge the Futures Gap to allow the entire organization to transform itself to better (1) recognize, create, and discover attractive economic opportunities; (2) be able to realistically evaluate economic opportunities with respect to the firm’s strategic...