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Stakeholders, the Environment and Society

Edited by Sanjay Sharma and Mark Starik

The role of stakeholders is integral to corporate sustainability as society increasingly demands that corporations play a role in achieving environmental objectives in addition to building shareholder wealth. In the first book to gather cutting-edge research on the interactions between stakeholders and organizations within the context of corporate sustainability, the contributors to this volume provide a diversity of perspectives from North America, Europe, and Oceania.
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Chapter 5: Toward Stakeholder Responsibility and Stakeholder Motivation: Systemic and Holistic Perspectives on Corporate Sustainability

Nikolay A. Dentchev and Aimé Heene


Nikolay A. Dentchev and Aimé Heene1 INTRODUCTION Alarming developments in the natural environment such as global warming, air pollution, acid rain, toxic wastes, the depletion of the ozone layer and the extinction of non-renewable resources have led to a growing awareness of the socio-economic consequences that may result from such environmental problems (Shrivastava 1994). In addition, it is generally perceived that organizations have significant impact on these alarming social and environmental developments (Starik and Marcus 2000). Unsustainable corporate practices and industrial accidents with significant impact (e.g. Chernobyl, Bhopal or Exxon Valdez) have drawn a lot of attention to business performance with respect to sustainability. Yet, scholarship in Organizations and the Natural Environment (ONE), interest group of the Academy of Management, has predominantly focused on the interaction between organizations and the natural environment, and on deepening our understanding of sustainable organizational forms and their impact on ecosystems and social welfare (Sharma 2002). The above-mentioned environmental developments and the acute inequalities in welfare distribution across the world have encouraged scholars to rethink the way modern societies should develop. As a result, the concept of corporate sustainability has been developed, referring to ‘the need [for organizations] to improve social and human welfare while reducing the ecological footprint and ensuring the effective achievement of organizational objectives’ (Sharma 2002, p. 13). Operating with respect for the natural environment is apparently not in conflict with the organizational function to generate profit, i.e. to build and sustain competitive advantage (e.g. AragónCorrea...

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