This chapter will provide a description of the personal journey of the author who, as a newly graduated Ph.D. in strategic management in 1985, embraced stakeholder theory. Perhaps one of the interesting aspects of this narrative is that the field of strategic management itself was in its infancy at the time of my graduation. So I have “grown up” in the strategy field while simultaneously observing and to some extent participating in the development of what we now call stakeholder theory. Over the past two and a half decades I have frequently found myself frustrated by my strategy colleagues’ lack of understanding of the stakeholder concept and their inability to comprehend its potential to address many of the most important problems in the strategy field. My own attempts to remedy this situation while continuing to do mainstream strategy research are described herein. Of course, in recent years the stakeholder concept has begun to gain greater acceptance in the strategy field. At the end of the chapter I will describe some potentially fruitful applications of the stakeholder concept in strategic management research.

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Post-print Chapter



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Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2011 Edward Elgar Publishing. This book chapter first appeared in Stakeholder Theory: Impact and Prospects, By Robert A. Phillips, 99-110, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011.

The definitive version is available at: https://www.amazon.com/Stakeholder-Theory-Prospects-Robert-Phillips/dp/0857936255.

Full Citation:

Harrison, Jeffrey S. "Stakeholder Theory in Strategic Management: A Retrospective." In Stakeholder Theory: Impact and Prospects by Robert A. Phillips, Editor, 99-110. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011.