Stakeholder Value Creation Revisited

In the recent Responsible Business Research Seminar at the University of Tampere, we presented our ideas and synthesis on stakeholder value creation and how it relates to sustainability.

Based on an extensive literature review spanning three decades of material, we position the articles in two different dimensions, which ranged from a single-value perspective to a multiple-value perspective and from focal firm orientation to stakeholder orientation and suggest four categories of stakeholder value creation literature:

(1) a focal firm orientation with a single-value perspective,

(2) a stakeholder orientation with a single-value perspective,

(3) a focal firm orientation with a multiple-value perspective, and

(4) a stakeholder orientation with a multiple-value perspective.

The results of the review reveal that authors have studied stakeholder value creation quite extensively from different perspectives, that the studies have different conceptions of value and value creation, and that there is no common understanding or definition of sustainability within the literature. However, it is possible to see an increased interest in sustainability issues and their more coherent incorporation into stakeholder research during recent years.

The results of our review suggest that, with respect to sustainability, researchers should consider the dynamic, systemic, and multilevel nature of stakeholder relationships and collaboration; the versatile understanding of value and value creation; a broader understanding of stakeholders and their needs; as well as the normative core of sustainable business. Additionally, the conceptualization of sustainability within stakeholder value creation and the elaboration on the purpose and role of business with regard to sustainability serve as interesting focus areas for future research.