Beyond the final consumer: The effectiveness of a generalist stakeholder strategy

A. Grinstein*, Arieh Goldman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Managers often face a number of dilemmas with respect to their stakeholders: Who are the most salient ones? How many should they target? How to allocate attention/efforts among them? Based on stakeholders and market orientation research this paper aims to address these dilemmas. Design/methodology/approach: The study is based on a survey of managers in a cross-industry sample of 115 firms. The authors first identify a specific group of salient stakeholders - those providing the firm with revenues and financial support. The article then studies the conditions under which firms should adopt a key approach to stakeholders' management - a "generalist" stakeholder strategy, that is, deal with a larger number of revenue and funding producing stakeholder types, and/or more evenly spread attention/efforts among them. Findings: The findings suggest that a generalist stakeholder strategy has a positive effect on firms' performance among resource-rich firms and among firms who face dissimilar ("unrelated") stakeholders. Also, degree of environmental volatility was not found to moderate the relationship between a generalist stakeholder strategy and firms' performance. Research limitations/implications: The study contributes to the marketing and stakeholder literatures by identifying and studying a group of important stakeholders beyond final consumers - those providing the firm with revenues and financial support, and by studying the conditions under which firms benefit from one key approach to stakeholders - a "generalist" stakeholder strategy. The study's limitations characterize most cross-sectional survey research (e.g. single informants, subjective performance assessments). However, substantial efforts were made to ensure the validity and robustness of the findings. Practical implications: The study offers managers insight into the organizational and environmental conditions under which firms should adopt a generalist stakeholder strategy. Originality/value: This is one of the few papers that integrate into the marketing literature the study of stakeholders. Specifically, it introduces the concept of a generalist stakeholder strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-595
Number of pages29
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011

Keywords

  • Consumers
  • Management strategy
  • Marketing strategy
  • Stakeholder analysis

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