Strategy and Stakeholder Relations: Risk or Reward?

By Tracy E. Houston

THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT HAS changed dramatically in the last 20 years. Along with these changes have come information overload, unforeseen interconnectedness often on a global scale and increased environmental and social concerns. What business model can embrace these complexities while creating value and promoting ethical decision-making?

Mapping the values and concerns of stakeholders against company strategy is one way to show where stakeholder concerns are aligned with current strategy and to create awareness of where risk or reward exist. This approach includes both internal and external stakeholders. Their feedback is systematically gathered, mapped and prioritized to enable comparison of current and emerging stakeholder concerns with those of the organization, thereby informing how the organization will respond.

Viewing business as a set of relationships among constituencies that have a stake in the organization s success can help organizations anticipate change, understand risk and create value. Bill George, former CEO of Medtronics, writes, Serving all your stakeholders is the best way to produce long-term results and create a growing, prosperous company.

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