The Soft Underbelly of Stakeholder Theory: The Role of Community

28 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2001

See all articles by Laura Dunham

Laura Dunham

University of St. Thomas

R. Edward Freeman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Jeanne Liedtka

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Date Written: 2001

Abstract

The lack of specificity around stakeholder identity remains a serious obstacle to the further development of stakeholder theory and its adoption in actual practice by business managers. Nowhere is this shortcoming more evident than in stakeholder theory's treatment of the constituency known as "community."

In this paper we shall attempt to set forth what we call "The Problem of Community" as indicative of the definitional problems of stakeholder theory. We shall then begin the process of gaining greater specificity around our notions of community and the role of community in stakeholder theory and management. In doing so, we will identify two important developments in the areas of community that we believe are particularly relevant to the stakeholder theorist and practicing manager, and that is the emergence of two fairly new forms of community. These two new variants of community - the virtual advocacy group and the community of practice - represent two very different notions of community, with strikingly different implications for stakeholder theory and practice.

Suggested Citation

Dunham, Laura and Freeman, R. Edward and Liedtka, Jeanne, The Soft Underbelly of Stakeholder Theory: The Role of Community (2001). Darden Business School Working Paper No. 01-22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=284973 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.284973

Laura Dunham (Contact Author)

University of St. Thomas ( email )

1000 LaSalle Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
United States

R. Edward Freeman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
804-924-0935 (Phone)
804-924-6378 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/freeman.htm

Jeanne Liedtka

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
804-924-1404 (Phone)
804-924-6378 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/liedtka.htm

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