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Framing stakeholder considerations and business sustainability efforts : a construct, its dimensions and items

Svennson, G. and Høgevold, Nils M. and Petzer, Danie and Padin, Carmen and Ferro, Carlos and Klopper, HB and Sosa Varela, Juan Carlos and Wagner, Beverly (2016) Framing stakeholder considerations and business sustainability efforts : a construct, its dimensions and items. Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, 31 (2). pp. 287-300. ISSN 0885-8624

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    Abstract

    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is twofold: to determine the extent to which companies’™ efforts of sustainable business practices consider stakeholders within their organisations, business networks, the marketplace and society, and to develop and test a stakeholder construct in the context of companies’™ business sustainability efforts within their business networks, the marketplace and society by identifying underlying dimensions and items. Design/methodology/approach – A mixed-method approach was used. First, qualitative research involving a case study approach was followed so as to describe how companies in different industries in Norway implement and manage sustainable business practices. This was followed by a quantitative research phase to empirically measure and test a stakeholder construct in the context of business sustainability efforts, which is reported here. Findings – The results report both an initial factor solution as well as a refined factor solution. The factor analyses confirmed five stakeholder dimensions related to business sustainability in a cross-industry sample of organisations, their business networks, marketplace and society. These include: the focal company, downstream stakeholders, societal stakeholders, market stakeholders and upstream stakeholders. The results indicate satisfactory convergent, discriminant and nomological validity, as well as reliability of each dimension. Research limitations/implications – The study provides a stakeholder construct in the context of business sustainability efforts in focal companies and their business networks, the marketplace and society, based upon five common dimensions. The multi-dimensional framework may be used in both qualitative and quantitative research in future. It may also be used to assess stakeholders’™ business sustainability efforts. Practical implications – The multi-dimensional framework is useful for practitioners to obtain an indication of stakeholders’™ business sustainability efforts in relation to focal companies and their business networks, the marketplace and society. Originality/value – The study provides a general stakeholder construct in the context of business sustainability efforts in business networks, the marketplace and society. The proposed framework can be incorporated in further studies and could be used to assess the general status of stakeholders’™ sustainability efforts in their networks, the marketplace and society.