In the King 3 Code on Corporate Governance guidelines, specific mention is made of the importance of stakeholder inclusivity (,i.e. that the legitimate interests and expectations of stakeholders are considered when deciding in the best interests of the company), stakeholder identification and determination of expectations and needs, the proactive management of stakeholder relationships, and that management should develop a strategy and formulate policies for the management of relationships with each stakeholder grouping.
This is now included again in the Draft version of King 4 as Principle 5.1 which states that as part of its decision making in the best interests of the organisation, the governing body should ensure that a stakeholder-inclusive approach is adopted, which takes into account and balances their legitimate and reasonable needs, interests and expectations.
But ultimately what does this inclusivity bring to the table, once we look beyond our differences.
This is part of what I teach in my Stakeholder Reputation Management Master classes. Engaging different stakeholders:
- Brings diverse perspectives together for creativity & innovation.
- Builds reputation and constructive relationships.
- Develops and expands market opportunities.
- Generates business intelligence and avoids/reduces risk.
Managers should sit down and redo stakeholder profiling and analyses. They should ask themselves what are the stakes of their stakeholders – moral, legal and economic. They should rethink their approach to issues management based on the new world context. They should think carefully about their stakeholder’s needs and expectations and how to balance conflicting demands.
This is no rudimentary process. It is one that I advocate. It is a process that will challenge the fabric and values of an organisation. BUT it is a must to ensure sustainability.
As an organization we have to address the needs of ALL our relevant stakeholders iro race, color or creed.