How stakeholder involvement influence sustainability behaviour - A case study of a project in the Norwegian aquaculture industry
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Corporate sustainability has evolved over the last decades and has become an increasingly important concept for companies to consider when making strategic decisions. Corporate sustainability has many underlying concepts, one of which is stakeholder theory. The link between stakeholder involvement and corporate sustainability has been widely discussed. However, the role of stakeholders is not clear and their position and influence within corporate sustainability is still debated. Companies must continuously attend to the competing demands from stakeholders. Hence, this thesis sought to explore how firms can achieve corporate sustainability when being influenced by stakeholder´s competing demands. The purpuse of this thesis was to explore how insight in stakeholder relations can be used to explain and stimulate sustainability behaviour. In order to achieve the aim three research questions was formulated, in which the last encapsulates all three questions; How can insight from investigating influencing factors and stakeholder relations be used to interpret the project s sustainability behaviour? . To answer this an empirical case study was conducted targeting a research project in the Norwegian aquaculture industry. Theoretical approaches within strategic management literature was utilized to analyse the empirical findings. An illustrative dynamic model named the Cobweb model, was developed in order to help answer the third research question. The Cobweb model contributes to increase a project's consciousness toward envisioning future scenarios and stimulating the desired behaviour. Further, we argue that the model illustrates an accurate picture of reality and accentuates stakeholder involvement as central to a project's sustainability behaviour. Findings show that placing stakeholders in a network context can better explain how stakeholder relations affect a project's sustainability behaviour. A network approach provides a more realistic picture of a complex reality. Moreover, we argue that sustainability behaviour is necessary in order to achieve corporate sustainability. Through the empirical case study, we confirmed the link between corporate sustainability and stakeholder involvement. A key to a more effective sustainability management is to establish processes for stakeholder engagement. To further confirm the validity of the model´s applicability, we recommend to use the model on other projects in a more advanced phase where stakeholder relations are more mature.