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Sleeping with the enemy? : strategic transformations in business - NGO relationships through stakeholder dialogue

Burchell, Jon; Cook, Joanne


Jon Burchell

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Professor Joe Cook
Professor in Organisational Behaviour/Human Resources Management


Campaigning activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have increased public awareness and concern regarding the alleged unethical and environmentally damaging practices of many major multinational companies. Companies have responded by developing corporate social responsibility strategies to demonstrate their commitment to both the societies within which they function and to the protection of the natural environment. This has often involved a move towards greater transparency in company practice and a desire to engage with stakeholders, often including many of the campaign organisations that have been at the forefront of the criticisms of their activity. This article examines the ways in which stakeholder dialogue has impacted upon the relationships between NGOs and businesses. In doing so, it contributes to the call for more ‘stakeholder-focused’ research in this field (Frooman in Acad Manag Rev 24(2): 191–205, 1999; Steurer in Bus Strategy Environ 15: 15–69 2006). By adopting a stakeholder lens, and focusing more heavily upon the impact on one particular stakeholder community (NGOs) and looking in depth at one form of engagement (stakeholder dialogue), this article examines how experiences of dialogue are strategically transforming interactions between businesses and NGOs. It shows how experiences of stakeholder dialogue have led to transformations in the drivers for engagement, transformations in the processes of engagement and transformations in the terms of engagement. Examining these areas of transformation, the article argues, reveals the interactions at play in framing and shaping the evolving relationships between business and its stakeholders.


Burchell, J., & Cook, J. (2013). Sleeping with the enemy? : strategic transformations in business - NGO relationships through stakeholder dialogue. Journal of Business Ethics, 113(3), 505-518.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Apr 27, 2012
Publication Date 2013-03
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Publicly Available Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal Journal of business ethics
Print ISSN 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN 1573-0697
Publisher Springer Publishing Company
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 113
Issue 3
Pages 505-518
Keywords Corporate social responsibility; Stakeholder dialogue; Business-NGOs relationships
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The final publication is available at Springer via


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