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Reimagining the language of engagement in a post-stakeholder world

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posted on 2024-05-09, 09:57 authored by Mark Reed, BG Merkle, EJ Cook, C Hafferty, AP Hejnowicz, R Holliman, ID Marder, U Pool, CM Raymond, KE Wallen, D Whyte, M Ballesteros, S Bhanbhro, S Borota, ML Brennan, E Carmen, Elaine ConwayElaine Conway, R Everett, F Armstrong-Gibbs, E Jensen, G Koren, J Lockett, P Obani, S O'Connor, L Prange, J Mason, S Robinson, P Shukla, A Tarrant, A Marchetti, M Stroobant

Language matters in shaping perceptions and guiding behaviour. The term stakeholder is widely used, yet little attention is paid to the possibility that its use may inadvertently perpetuate colonial narratives and reinforce systemic inequities. In this article, we critically examine the limitations of the stakeholder concept and its ambiguity, normativity, and exclusionary implications. We emphasise the importance of using language that gives a voice to marginalised groups, promotes inclusion and equity, and fosters meaningful and reflexive participation in decision-making processes. In critiquing the use of the term and calling for alternative practices, we aim to contribute to the decolonisation of research norms and the creation of more inclusive and equitable societies. Therefore, rather than advocating a single alternative term, we suggest a focus on the people, places, and species affected by decisions, interventions, projects, and issues.

History

School

  • Loughborough Business School

Published in

Sustainability Science

Publisher

Springer Verlag

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Acceptance date

2024-02-27

Publication date

2024-04-29

Copyright date

2024

ISSN

1862-4065

eISSN

1862-4057

Language

  • en

Depositor

Dr Elaine Conway. Deposit date: 29 April 2024

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