Building chains and directing flows: Strategies and tactics of mutual influence in stakeholder conflicts

Charlene Zietsma, Monika I. Winn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations


This article aims to deepen the understanding of the processes and specific actions aimed at influencing and shaping business practices through dynamic stakeholder relationships. An inductive, longitudinal study of all players involved in a stakeholder conflict identified four clusters of influence tactics that were used by both secondary stakeholders and their target firms: issue raising, issue suppressing, positioning, and solution seeking. The stakeholders studied built elaborate influence chains and worked to direct influence flows. The study contributes to stakeholder theory by offering a refined understanding of both bilateral and mutual-influence tactics, expanding the theory's focus beyond bilateral relationships, and highlighting the use of dependence relationships among multiple embedded organizations to build influence over a specific target, and more generally, an organizational field. These findings are discussed in light of work on social movement organizations and institutional theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-101
Number of pages34
JournalBusiness and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2008


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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