The impact of stakeholder voice upon the formulation of strategy within a small local authority
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AbstractThis research presents the results of a study undertaken within a small local authority. It examines the relevance of both stakeholder theory and contemporary strategic thinking to determine whether stakeholder voice has an impact upon the formulation of strategy within the context of the local authority examined. The role of the stakeholder is argued as being fundamental in the development of effective strategy, and therefore "logical incrementalism" is challenged in favour of the need for strategic forward planning to formalise the involvement of stakeholders. However, whilst this research indicates a development toward a planned approach to strategy, this can be constrained by other factors that divert managers away from strategic issues, including a flat management structure, strategically indifferent political support and limited time and resources. Moreover, the multiplicity [in both number and influence] of the stakeholders to the local authority supports the situational and subjective nature of the stakeholder concept, which can lead to both positive and negative stakeholder influences. Accordingly, it is argued that stakeholder voice is ultimately related to an individual stakeholder's ability to sanction, support and/or exert power over the local authority. A model of stakeholder power has been developed, which postulates that such power is derived from the impact of legislation upon the stakeholder relationship in combination with the stakeholder's ability to control resources as well the stakeholder's impact upon the reputation of the local authority. The ability to comprehend the complexity and nuances of the stakeholder concept is therefore of paramount importance, however it was observed that managers do not fully understand the purpose and definition of strategy and therefore do not fully comprehend the stakeholder concept and its relationship to strategy. Therefore a significant need for training was identified with regard to both stakeholder involvement and strategy formulation. The research concludes that stakeholder voice does affect strategy formulation, but this relationship can be very situational, resulting in positive and negative connotations about the involvement of stakeholders to the various strategic processes of the local authority examined.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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