Theme solve. The seven stages and BSR’s five-step approach

Theme
7 community design
Stakeholder
engagement

Introduction
This
two pager is about stakeholder engagement. Actually, this is all what
social innovation is about: solving societal issues by means of
co-creation which is directly related to stakeholder engagement. The
topic explains about the whole process of making stakeholders aware
of a societal issue towards eventually activating them to solve. The
seven stages and BSR’s five-step approach will help to engage
stakeholders (the steps are interwoven in the summary); ‘trust’
is a big part. Together with those stakeholders, strategic options
can be assessed more easily.

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Summary
Before
diving into the topic stakeholder engagement, I want to explain two
other comparable options; stakeholder management and crisis
management.
The goal of all three options is to succeed in developing and
implementing a strategic option. However, the process differs. Crisis
management is applied when an organization suddenly comes across an
alarming need for change and the organization only occasionally
interacts with its stakeholders. Organizations don’t voluntarily
choose for this option, because it causes hostile relationships with
its stakeholders, including bad results regarding the strategic
option. A better option is stakeholder management, where
organizations anticipate on societal issues and thereupon proactively
set the direction for growth. Even the requirement of regularly
interacting will let stakeholders feel only involved regarding
strategic options and will still cause defensiveness. The best option
to go for is stakeholder engagement, which requires organizations to
include stakeholders in their whole process. Organizations not only
listen to and join the interactive discussions, but also re-emphasize
negotiations that produce satisfaction for all parties; co-creation
with synergy. This engagement prepares both organizations and
stakeholders to change, which more easily can lead to a win-win
solution.

Organizations
have to fit in the stakeholder engagement.
This means that they have to know why they want to engage with
stakeholders and what is needed of the organization itself to succeed
in this process. Why to engage: there are many reasons to engage, for
example reducing constraints, minimize risks and enhancing
opportunities. Achieving this together with suppliers, customers, new
entrants and social contracts gives competitive advantage and licence
to operate in today’s society. What is needed: the whole
organization must embed and align the process, including strategies
and procedures. Developing the strategy is the first step according
to the seven stages and BSR. Further steps for the organization are
to understand the stakeholders on different indicators by mapping
them and prepare and align internally for the engagement.

Next,
the organization and stakeholders have to sit together.
Creating an oversight in a scheme of the OWANS (organization’s
wants and needs) and SWANS (stakeholder’s wants and needs) cares
for a clear starting point and direction for growth. Such a scheme
sketches the differences and similarities, from which effective
discussions, including synergy can arise.

Finally,
the steps for the engagement process.
Before starting, it’s important to understand the necessity to
create alignment, embeddedness and trust with all stakeholders
(internal and external) about the organizational culture and
structure. Alignment, embeddedness and trust cares for relational
transparency, which enlarges the piggy bank (Covey). Next step is to
really engage stakeholders; choose representatives, communicate
appropriately and track issues of interest and concern. Then, make an
internal and external course of action. For the external course of
action and if it’s about strategic options, the FOETSJE model can
be used to measure a stakeholders’ feasibility; financial,
organizational, economical, technical, social, juridical and
ethical/ecological. When applying a few other proper criteria, a
stakeholders’ support can be measured. Last step for everyone is to
monitor, evaluate and document the whole process.

The
essence of the subject based on my opinion and examples
I
think that the essence of this theme is to understand the importance
of stakeholder engagement.
When understood, an organization is better able to apply stakeholder
engagement, because it will work from the heart. This emotional
commitment will make the organization more valued by its stakeholders
and eventually (as goal) will make the stakeholders feel emotionally
committed as well. Subsequent goal for the organization is to create
trust, alignment and embeddedness. This goal not only counts for the
relations between different organizations and stakeholders, but also
for the internal organizations and stakeholders. For example, Nexus
(see theme introduction) still has to focus a lot on their internal
organization; an important manifest was written of which only half of
the organization was aware (no embeddedness) and each time when
having an internal meeting, it appears that Nexus disagrees on many
topics (no alignment). However, relational transparency will only
arise when there is trust, alignment and embeddedness.

What
will flow out from proper stakeholder engagement, including
relational transparency, is a quicker process regarding fulfilling
strategic options.
Stakeholders are prepared and willing to change and therefore
communicate and interact continuously and efficiently, which cares
for less misunderstandings and faster satisfaction for every
organization and stakeholder. As consequence, organizations will
understand their stakeholders even better which works effective when
working out an external action plan regarding strategic options. When
implementing a strategic option by stakeholder engagement, it
automatically will cause sustainable development; for both the
strategic option as the organization with its stakeholders.

Having
read this two-pager isn’t a guarantee to succeed in stakeholder
engagement.
Often, organizations think it’s difficult to determine the starting
point with many stakeholders. Or, to many recommendations to
implement came out a stakeholder meeting. To overcome those issues,
it’s important to focus and follow appropriate processes. An
example of an organization which tries to succeed in stakeholder
engagement is Coca Cola. This organization recognized the effects
from their bottling process in, especially, India; it had huge
environmental impacts which caused literally deserts and therefore
criticism. The inhabitants unionised, because of having high
interest, but low power. Coca cola already associated and dealt with
those inhabitants as stakeholders, but started to gain an even better
understanding of their motives while mostly using the indicator
‘interest’. Together with the inhabitants and other stakeholders,
Coca Cola is trying to fulfil a collective action approach.
Continuously dealing with stakeholders and creating a collective
action approach is how Coca Cola applies stakeholder engagement.