Stakeholder management for business sustainability : a case study of a University of South Africa.
Universities have not been able to manage their stakeholder identification and salience correctly, nor to establish the needs of each stakeholder. There are no empirical studies on the identification of university stakeholders, which means that the process needs to be developed. The term „stakeholder‟ refers to internal or external individuals or groups who have a stake in, influence on, or direct or indirect interest in the way the business operates. The concept „stakeholder‟ brings new meaning to the conduct, role and responsibility of the university, and changes the way in which universities interact with their stakeholders. The stakeholders with whom the university interacts comprise organisations and groups of individuals, which includes, internally, students (full-time and part-time) and staff (research, academic, support, professional, administrative), administration and management; and externally, research communities, alumni, businesses, social movements, consumer organisations, governments and professional associations. Every university has to carefully assess the challenges and threats posed by the environment, understand the needs of its stakeholders, attract and consolidate resources, consider external changes, and resolve internal problems. Stakeholder management is defined as the effective management of relationships with stakeholders, and stakeholder engagement has an impact on the university‟s ability to survive. Universities have openly recognised their obligation to meet the needs of a wide range of stakeholders. Stakeholder analysis is deliberately considered as the most important part of university management and marketing, and universities are required to take care of their key stakeholder groups and build long-term relationships with them. This single exploratory case study situated in a qualitative paradigm used interviews, questionnaires and a literature review to collect relevant data. The study sought to determine how the university identified and managed stakeholders for its Research and Innovation Month. In order to achieve the aim of the study, the objectives are the following: i) to explore and describe how the university manages stakeholders for the Research and Innovation Month; ii) to explore and describe the role of stakeholders in the sustainability of the university‟s Research and Innovation Month, and iii) to propose recommendations for the promotion of stakeholder management with regard to the university‟s Research and Innovation Month. The study found that the university is beginning to develop strategies for stakeholder management. However, there is still insufficient information in terms of what stake(s) the stakeholders are claiming, and the role of the university towards its stakeholders is unclear. In addition, there is the lack of a clear stakeholder identification process, priority and salience, and the university has not conducted a stakeholder analysis. There is also a lack of understanding of the threats and opportunities presented by the stakeholders, and the terms „stakeholder‟ and „public‟ are used interchangeably.
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