Inclusiveness incorporated : characterisation of stakeholders and partners in annual reports
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by K Kearins, G Oliver
This paper contributes to descriptive theory of stakeholder identification and salience, providing evidence of distinctions made by companies in respect of those they refer to as ‘stakeholders’ and ‘partners’. Combining content and discourse analysis of annual reports, the paper reveals a vague and all-inclusive characterisation of stakeholder relationships occurring alongside a more detailed representation of partnerships with select groups, mostly relating to explicit commercial dealings or specific projects. Intimacy and mutuality – and an apparent lack thereof - distinguish those the companies refer to as ‘stakeholders’ from their ‘partners’. It is concluded that the threshold differentiating stakeholders from partners bears greater scrutiny in defining spheres of stakeholder salience than does the previously emphasised question of who (or what) is a stakeholder.