Unpacking Complexity Through Critical Stakeholder Analysis The Case of Globalization

Business and Society 42 (4):430-454 (2003)
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Globalization is a ubiquitousyet highly elusive term. The debate on the cont and meaning of globalization is still waged largely in binary terms; for example, globalization is understood either as increasing standardization or as increasing difference. This article argues that the effects of globalization are best understood in terms of the following three sets of simultaneous contradictions: convergence and divergence, inclusion and exclusion, and centralization and decentralization. These contradictions can be fruitfully “unpacked” and examined through critical stakeholder analysis (CSA). This technique focuses on broader structural commonalties and differences among key stakeholder groups, factors that are not incorporated in mainstream stakeholder theory. The associated normative agenda of CSA promotes a common understanding of key issues within a focal organizational field, the negotiated settlement of zero-sum situations that optimize collective stakeholder interests within that field, and the containment and minimization of negative externalities within as well as between fields.



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