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Employees as Conduits for Effective Stakeholder Engagement: An Example from B Corporations

Author

Listed:
  • Anne-Laure P. Winkler

    () (City University of New York)

  • Jill A. Brown

    () (Bentley University)

  • David L. Finegold

    () (Chatham University)

Abstract

Is there a link between how a firm manages its internal and external stakeholders? More specifically, are firms that give employees stock ownership and more say in running the enterprise more likely to engage with external stakeholders? This study seeks to answer these questions by elaborating on mechanisms that link employees to external stakeholders, such as the community, suppliers, and the environment. It tests these relationships using a sample of 347 private, mostly small-to-medium size firms, which completed a stakeholder impact assessment organized by the non-profit B Lab. The results support the hypotheses that both employee ownership and employee involvement are positively associated with external stakeholder engagement. Further, we found that certification plays a role, as employee ownership contributes to external stakeholder engagement only in certified B Corporations, and not in firms that merely completed the B Lab Impact assessment. Our findings have import for stakeholder engagement frameworks, as we show that there is interplay between internal employee stakeholders and external stakeholders that may be important to overall firm–stakeholder management.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne-Laure P. Winkler & Jill A. Brown & David L. Finegold, 2019. "Employees as Conduits for Effective Stakeholder Engagement: An Example from B Corporations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 160(4), pages 913-936, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:160:y:2019:i:4:d:10.1007_s10551-018-3924-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-018-3924-0
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    1. Giorgio Mion & Cristian R. Loza Adaui, 2020. "Understanding the purpose of benefit corporations: an empirical study on the Italian case," International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 1-15, December.

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