Social and environmental reports and the notion of stakeholder engagement
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
Non-financial reports are being produced by large organisations with more frequency than ever before with stakeholders being central to them. Through a number of interviews and by analysing reports by organisations in New Zealand, this research provides an in-depth look at the relationships between several reporting organisations and their stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement as a concept has been advocated as an ideal way for these relationships to manifest themselves. This research clarifies the concept of stakeholder engagement before describing some current practice in New Zealand and the character of the relationships described by interviewees and the organisations themselves through their reports. Stakeholder engagement was largely absent from the relationships described with only one relationship matching the character that has been described in the literature. It was found that in New Zealand organisations tended to be very business focused in their organisational reports and in their relationships with stakeholders. This resulted in organisation dominated relationships with a narrow range of stakeholders being interacted with. The importance of the practitioners themselves was a prominent theme that emerged during the research. The values of the practitioners came through as being very strong as did a desire to persuade others of the importance of non-financial reporting and its related issues. This research provides an insight into stakeholder and reporting practice in New Zealand and the degree to which stakeholder engagement is prevalent in organisations producing nonfinancial reports.