Stakeholder engagement and sustainability integration; a case study of royal Ahold
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Corporations around the world are increasingly starting to integrate sustainability practices in their business strategies. Many studies have stretched the importance of stakeholder engagement in this integration process; however few researches have focused on the relation between these concepts even though companies experience trouble with sustainability integration and aligning their vision and activities. This paper contains a research focused on the relation between stakeholder engagement and the integration of sustainability within organizations. This is based on an explorative qualitative single case study, including a seven-month participant observation period. A qualitative data analysis method was used for company data including eight semi- structured interviews with employees and a thematic analysis was conducted based resulting in emerging coding categories. Five themes have led to significant improvements and developments of sustainability within the organization. The classification into three different stakeholder groups led to new insights on how an organization engages with different groups of stakeholders in order to integrate sustainability. Whereas direct stakeholders were approached more for collaborative- and business related purposes, societal stakeholders played a key part in KPI creation. Using these societal stakeholders helped the organization to allocate a meaning to KPI’s that exceeds organizational boundaries into society.