Posted by: Joel Arellano | April 30, 2014

Websites and stakeholder legitimacy

Weber and Marley’s results make sense, but I’m confused why the authors excluded companies with social responsibility reports on their web pages, rather than as standalone downloads, since the former seems better designed to engage many of the external, non-traditional stakeholders with which this research is concerned. Such folks aren’t likely to download and peruse a report, much less be previously aware of it or seek one out. Any such internal report would have to be digested then presented in just such a user-friendly fashion to reach stakeholders beyond the corporate community.

The authors also conclude that, “seeing a business stakeholder only in terms of legitimacy… would be incomplete and vulnerable to… unexpected impacts…” (643). I think it could also be helpful to simply broaden the context in which we consider stakeholders legitimate. Though the authors state on 630 that they’ll later define the three salience terms, I never saw those definitions arrive, so I assume they simply agreed with the previous description of “legitimacy as a powerful influence in the social network” (672). I’m not sure why “the social network” is included there, but the idea of legitimacy as simply having influence seems complete in itself. I’m not even sure why we need that three-type triangle, since power is a measure of influence, and urgency is irrelevant except as an intensifier of the other two measures- it does not have any value on its own.

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