Dialogical Value, the function of the stakeholder dialogue within integrity management
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Corporations have lost sight of the basic function that is ‘creating value through trade for stakeholders.’ Edward Freeman’s (1984) concept of stakeholder theory bears the potential to recover this basic corporate function; however, it does not seem to get off the ground in practice. Currently, the theory is used to identify stakeholders instead of engaging with them in a dialogue. This study examines the function of the stakeholder dialogue within integrity management. The research question is: What is the function of stakeholder theory within integrity management and in what way does the stakeholder dialogue improve integrity management for corporations? I will answer the research question by combining scientific research with empirical research in focus group discussions. This combination is applied to increase the validity of the scientific research and therefore, a dialogue runs through the thesis. This implies that representatives of the actual business practice are invited to ‘join in the conversation.’ The study reveals that stakeholder theory becomes useful when it is regarded as an action guiding mindset. In addition to this, a stakeholder dialogue is functional within integrity management because it can lead to mutual understanding or mutual agreement with regards to the complex subject of corporate integrity.