The stakeholder enterprise : Caring for the community by attending to employees

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

6 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-61
Journal / PublicationStrategic Organization
Issue number1
Online published28 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


A core issue in stakeholder theory is how firms can engender joint interests among competing stakeholders. We draw on theories of normative influence and reciprocity to identify how firms positively influence the relations between their internal and external stakeholders. We propose that firms can send credible corporate signals, such as philanthropy and sustainability reporting, to exert social influence on employees, but that employees' own treatment by their firm and career prospects are also important in shaping their behavior toward the external community. We investigate these arguments in the context of Chinese firms' donation behavior following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Empirical analysis shows that the credibility of corporate signals differs. Sustainability reporting that adheres to global standards has a direct bearing on employees' behavior. In contrast, corporate giving by itself has no general influence on the willingness of employees to donate. However, firms that have either positive employee relations or have employees with superior career prospects and make donations to earthquake relief stimulate their employees to make their own donations too. In so doing, firms gain from the efforts of internal stakeholders to serve external stakeholders. We discuss the implications of our study for stakeholder theory and, in particular, the jointness of stakeholder interests.

Research Area(s)

  • China, corporate social responsibility, stakeholder theory

Bibliographic Note

Full text of this publication does not contain sufficient affiliation information. With consent from the author(s) concerned, the Research Unit(s) information for this record is based on the existing academic department affiliation of the author(s).