If stakeholder theory is to become a full theory of business-society relationships, it will have to develop a better understanding of processes by which stakeholders may gain and hold influence over firms. A better understanding of the political processes involved is required. This paper-as well as the papers in this special issue-takes a political 'view' to addressing the issue, and thereby extends the currently dominant demographic and structural approaches. It suggests that the influence of stakeholders over firms is the temporary outcome of processes of action, reaction, and interaction among various parties. Consequently, the further advancement of stakeholder theory would benefit from the adoption of process-research methods and thinking. © 2008 Sage Publications.