Towards an analytical framework for business-NGO dialogues.
Mariëtte van Huijstee, MSc

PhD Student Stakeholder Dialogues for Sustainable Development
Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation
Research Group Environmental Studies and Policy
Heidelberglaan 2, Van Unnik Building, Room 11.18

P.O. Box 80115, 3508 TC Utrecht
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The concept of stakeholder dialogue is gaining ground, in literature as well as in practice. A recent study by KPMG among more than 1600 of the world largest corporations reveals that 39% of these companies refer to structured stakeholder dialogue in their CSR (corporate social responsibility) reports. These references suggest that stakeholder dialogues contribute to CSR activities, but the nature of this contribution remains unclear. Academic literature hasn’t been able to bridge this knowledge gap, since the main focus was on the process of relationship building, paying less attention to outcomes. Purpose of this paper is to create an analytical framework for understanding company-NGO dialogue processes, their outcomes, the value of these outcomes in the context of CSR, and the correlation between dialogue process and dialogue outcomes. Earlier empirical research, organizational learning literature, stakeholder management literature and literature focussed on power and influence all provide valuable insights for the drafting of this analytical framework. The combined insights suggest that the main dialogue outcomes in terms of sustainability potentially are policy and learning effects. Therefore the framework focuses on detecting these types of dialogue outcomes. Variables on the individual participant level, the organizational level, characteristics of the dialogue process itself, and several aspects of the organizational context are identified as the most promising explanatory factors for the occurrence or absence of these dialogue outcomes.   

Full Paper (.ppt format, 339.0 kb)

All Submissions
8:00 AM-8:00 PM, Friday, June 15, 2007, Oral

The Ontario, Canada 2007 Meeting