Stakeholder value creation: Legitimating business sustainability
Authors: Tapaninaho, Riikka & Kujala, Johanna
Title: Stakeholder value creation: Legitimating business sustainability
As part of the CICAT2025-project, stakeholder interaction and engagement are examined throughout the project. The value-creating and cooperating stakeholder relationships have been recognized crucial for promoting sustainable Circular Economy in Finland. This paper examines how stakeholder value creation studies approach the role of business with regard to sustainability-related issues. In particular, the purpose of the paper is to examine how business sustainability is considered and legitimated in stakeholder value creation studies. Based on the literature review, a typology of four categories is presented consisting of studies with (1) focal firm orientation with economic value perspective, (2) stakeholder orientation with economic value perspective, (3) focal firm orientation with multiple value perspective, and (4) stakeholder orientation with multiple value perspective. Each category tells a somewhat different story of what the purpose of business is, who the important stakeholders are, what role does sustainability play in business, and how business sustainability is legitimated. Especially, the studies within the category of stakeholder orientation with a multiple value perspective show potential to explain how the role of business can be understood in tackling sustainability issues, and what does it require. These studies place emphasis on the cooperative stakeholder relationships, continual negotiations, and collective efforts in order to create versatile value for various stakeholders in economic, environmental, and social terms, and to legitimate business sustainability within the context in question.