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Stakeholder Theory

Change your perspective: Marketing should not focus on customers only

Marketing has traditionally had a rather restrictive focus on customers. In the lead article of the July issue of Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Bas Hillebrand, Paul H. Driessen and Oliver Koll present a new perspective on marketing that takes other stakeholders and their interrelationships into account.

They provide theoretical foundations for this new perspective on marketing, which is called stakeholder marketing. They propose that firms should develop three capabilities to deal with the challenges related to stakeholder marketing:

  • Systems thinking: understanding the whole stakeholder value system
  • Paradoxical thinking: accepting of and learning from tension between stakeholder interests
  • Democratic thinking: sharing control over marketing decisions with a multitude of stakeholders

Through their framework, firms can diagnose the size of the gaps between actual and required levels for each of these capabilities. The authors provide suggestions how firms can build each of the capabilities.

The article Stakeholder marketing: theoretical foundations and required capabilities appears as an open access article in Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (vol. 43, issue 4, pp 411-428) and is available for free download: Download