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Understanding the Nature of Stakeholder Relationships: An Empirical Examination of a Conflict Situation


  • Johanna Kujala


  • Anna Heikkinen


  • Hanna Lehtimäki



This article examines stakeholder relationships in a conflict situation. The focus of analysis is on how to understand stakeholder relationships as both ethical and strategic, and further, how the interests of different stakeholders become justified. To describe stakeholder relationships, we use media texts reporting on the case of a foreign investment project. The description shows how relationships evolve and how they constitute different episodes related to the conflict. We address the episodes by analysing stakeholder relationships and their salience. Furthermore, we examine how different stakeholder interests are justified in relation to the conflict. By providing a rich detailed qualitative analysis, we elaborate on the strategic and ethical nature of stakeholder relationships. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Johanna Kujala & Anna Heikkinen & Hanna Lehtimäki, 2012. "Understanding the Nature of Stakeholder Relationships: An Empirical Examination of a Conflict Situation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 109(1), pages 53-65, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:109:y:2012:i:1:p:53-65
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1379-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lisa Calvano, 2008. "Multinational Corporations and Local Communities: A Critical Analysis of Conflict," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 82(4), pages 793-805, November.
    2. Goodpaster, Kenneth E., 1991. "Business Ethics and Stakeholder Analysis," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 53-73, January.
    3. Adele Santana & Antonino Vaccaro & Donna Wood, 2009. "Ethics and the Networked Business," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 90(4), pages 661-681, December.
    4. Edward Freeman, R. & Evan, William M., 1990. "Corporate governance: A stakeholder interpretation," Journal of Behavioral Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 337-359.
    5. Benjamin Neville & Bulent Menguc, 2006. "Stakeholder Multiplicity: Toward an Understanding of the Interactions between Stakeholders," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 66(4), pages 377-391, July.
    6. Elisabet Garriga, 2009. "Cooperation in Stakeholder Networks: Firms’ ‘Tertius Iungens’ Role," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 90(4), pages 623-637, December.
    7. Julia Roloff, 2008. "Learning from Multi-Stakeholder Networks: Issue-Focussed Stakeholder Management," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 82(1), pages 233-250, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sefa Hayibor & Colleen Collins, 2016. "Motivators of Mobilization," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 139(2), pages 351-374, December.
    2. repec:eee:accfor:v:37:y:2013:i:1:p:54-66 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:kap:jbuset:v:143:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2589-1 is not listed on IDEAS


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