Research - 17.09.2014 - 00:00
17 September 2014. The new publication from Deutsche Post DHL raises the question how companies and their stakeholders - for example customers, consumers and societal actors - can jointly and sustainably profit through a systematic dialogue. It is becoming increasingly clear that close stakeholder relationships enable companies not only to safeguard their societal acceptance ("license to operate"), but also to enhance their attractiveness and performance in the long run. This insight is supported by the results of an international survey of opinion leaders from six different key countries conducted for the study.
Companies that engage in dialogue with their stakeholder groups are first-rank for 71 percent of those surveyed. And 87 percent of survey participants indicated that a one-sided emphasis on the interests of their shareholders is now an outdated strategy.
Sustainably profit through a systematic dialogue
Today, companies are confronted with a multiplicity of stakeholder groups in all markets. This includes not only customers, employees and investors, but also suppliers, political decision-makers, administrations, the media, NGOs, trade unions or local communities. The study explores the significance of close relationships with stakeholders from a variety of perspectives, stresses various examples, and features renowned experts from academia and business.
The authors who have contributed to the study include Professor R. Edward Freeman (University of Virginia), considered one of the founders of the stakeholder approach, as well as Professor Peter Ulrich, founder and former head of the Institute for Business Ethics of the University of St. Gallen, the first of its kind in the German-speaking realm. Another contributor is the author and consultant Mark Kramer, who together with the economist Michael Porter developed the much-discussed "shared value" approach.
Stakeholder relations has continually risen
"From a scientific point of view, the significance of stakeholder relations has continually risen over the last decades. A timely, ethically well-founded understanding of management places the interaction with the company environment and the dealings with relevant stakeholder groups at the center of its considerations", said Professor Dr. Thomas Beschorner, Director of the Institute for Business Ethics at the University of St. Gallen, on the occasion of the joint discussion event where the study was presented under the motto "from shareholder to stakeholder".
The event, aimed at creating a dialogue between academia and business, has an array of prominent guests: The hosts are Professor Thomas Beschorner and Professor Dr. Christof Ehrhart, Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications and Responsibility at Deutsche Post DHL. In addition, participants include Professor Dr. Johannes Rüegg-Stürm, Director of the Institute for Systemic Management and Public Governance, Professor Dr. Dieter Thomä, Professor of Philosophy, as well as Achim Halfmann, Managing Editor at CSR News, one of the world's leading information platforms on the subject of corporate social responsibility.
Picture: Deutsche Post DHL / Delivering thomorrow
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