Who or What Really Counts in a Firm's Stakeholder Environment: An Investigation of Stakeholder Prioritization and Reporting
Following the line of thinking that a firm is a nexus of contracts between stakeholders, with managers as "the central node" (Hills and Jones, 1992), this study examined how managers prioritize stakeholder relationships and to what extent firms engage in voluntary disclosure with the stakeholder group they deem to be important. Data was simultaneously collected from two different national business contexts, Italy and the US. Results of the study show that the power, legitimacy, and urgency that managers associate with various stakeholder groups cumulatively determine how they go about prioritizing competing stakeholder claims. The results also provide evidence to the effect that the more importance a firm attaches to a stakeholder group, the greater the level of interaction between the firm and the stakeholder group, as evidenced in the information reported by the firm in its disclosures.
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