Minna Halme of Aalto University School of Business, Finland (and Visiting Professor at the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business) delivers this presentation - part of the SR+ series of seminars.
While stakeholders have long been at the forefront of corporate sustainability debates, the emphases have tended to be on stakeholder pressures, or conflict in the management of controversial issues. In this paper we ask how different stakeholders such as NGOs, end users and academic institutions, can contribute to sustainability-oriented innovation (SOI) in firms.
Based on 76 semi-structured interviews, we conduct a fine-grained qualitative analysis of stakeholder activities in SOI processes in thirteen different companies across Europe. Our analysis identifies eight roles that stakeholders play in SOI processes: stimulator, initiator, broker/mediator, concept refiner, legitimator, educator, context enabler and impact extender. More traditional roles such as legitimator and educator are less common in our cases. However, emerging roles such as the stimulator, concept refiner, context enabler and impact extender are clearly identifiable and could be particularly valuable for SOI. We argue that secondary stakeholders may actually be more relevant for SOI than primary stakeholders and can play a highly collaborative role.
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