Evaluating Issue Salience
Posted: 21 Mar 2016
Date Written: March 21, 2015
I argue that firms are ill equipped to respond substantively to issues that are salient to their managers and stakeholders, where these issues lack an evaluation framework of materiality, specificity and urgency that is necessary for an effective response. Using corporate water risk as an exemplar issue I propose a typology to construct such a framework, based on an adaptive interpretation of Mitchell et al.’s (1997) theory of stakeholder identification and salience. The approach allows firms to make absolute and relative evaluations of issue salience, and to apply these judgments within their strategic cognition process. The article breaks new ground in providing a conceptual bridge between the extant literature on stakeholder salience and issue salience; while simultaneously offering a practical tool for firms to deploy.
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