The Soft Underbelly of Stakeholder Theory: The Role of Community
28 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2001
Date Written: 2001
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.
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