Linking Social Issues to Organizational Impact: The Role of Infomediaries and the Infomediary Process

14 Pages Posted: 24 May 2013

See all articles by David L. Deephouse

David L. Deephouse

Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta

Pursey P.M.A.R. Heugens

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Date Written: June 1, 2008

Abstract

When do organizations decide to ‘adopt’ a given social issue such that they come to acknowledge it in their patterns of action and communication? Traditional answers to this question have focused either on the characteristics of the issue itself, or on the traits of the focal organization. In many cases, however, a firm’s decision to adopt or ignore an issue is not a straightforward function of firm or issue characteristics. Instead, we view issue adoption as a socially constructed process of information exchange between parties that are involved in the emergence and evolution of the issue, mediated by third-party organizations. We refer to this process as the infomediary process and these latter organizations as ‘infomediaries,’ after the information mediation and brokerage roles they play in the social processes linking social issues to organizational impact. We present a concise theoretical model of how infomediaries establish credible linkages between focal organizations and social issues. The thrust of the model is that the infomediation process, rather than the issue or firm characteristics, is what really drives firm-level issue adoption decisions.

Keywords: issues management, news media, stakeholder theory, infomediary organizations, strategic decision making, social construction of reality

Suggested Citation

Deephouse, David L. and Heugens, Pursey P.M.A.R., Linking Social Issues to Organizational Impact: The Role of Infomediaries and the Infomediary Process (June 1, 2008). Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 86, No. 4, 2009 ; University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-401. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2268664

David L. Deephouse (Contact Author)

Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada
780 492-5419 (Phone)
780 492-3325 (Fax)

Pursey P.M.A.R. Heugens

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2365 (Phone)
0031 10 408 9012 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
14
Abstract Views
451
PlumX Metrics