Stakeholder Identities, Trust and Cooperation: A Social Identity Perspective

Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 24:214-225 (2013)
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I introduce a conceptualization of stakeholders as social groups and of stakeholder relationships as intergroup processes. Drawing on instrumental stakeholdertheory and social identity theory, I argue that salient stakeholder identities affect trust and cooperation in issue-based stakeholder relationships differently. Two web-based experimental studies are presented to support this claim. Study 1 provides evidence for the negative impact of salient specific stakeholder identities on trust and cooperation among stakeholders in the context of a complex issue. Study 2 introduces the concept of a superordinated stakeholder identity to counteract these harmful consequences of salient specific stakeholder identities. Further, both studies support the hypothesis of intergroup trust being a mediator of the relationship between an individual’s identification with a stakeholder group and cooperation



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