Competing through consonance: a stakeholder engagement view of corporate relational environment

  • Marialuisa Saviano
  • Francesco Caputo
  • Jens Mueller
  • Zhanna Belyaeva
Keywords: stakeholder engagement, relationships, consonance, Italian SMEs, structural equation modelling, Viable Systems Approach


Purpose of the paper: The purpose of this paper is to investigate companies’ approach to market relationships with the aim of highlighting the positive impact of consonance-oriented strategies of stakeholder engagement.

Methodology: Building upon a VSA view (Barile et al., 2015a) of stakeholder engagement that highlights the relevance of stakeholders’ perceptions of companies’ alignment with them, exploratory research is conducted using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) with reference to a sample of stakeholders of 37 Italian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The aim is to verify possible relationships between companies’ ability to be perceived as aligned with stakeholders’ expectations and their market share (MS).

Results: This paper offers evidence of a positive relationship between companies’ ability to be perceived as aligned with stakeholders’ expectations and their market share (MS), highlighting advantages for companies to actively embrace stakeholders’ engagement through consonance-oriented relational strategies.

Research limitations: The research is conducted with reference to a non-random sample of companies. Findings herein should be verified with reference to a random sample and by adopting different qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

Practical implications: The paper shows the positive impact on performances of companies’ capabilities to establish consonant relationships with their stakeholders in order to be perceived as aligned with their expectations.

Originality of the paper: The paper contributes to previous studies on the topic of stakeholder engagement identifying elements upon which companies may act to build effective relational strategies with the aim of improving companies’ economic performance. The study also contributes to discussion about the VSA consonance/competitiveness dilemma providing empirical evidence of effectiveness of consonance oriented strategies.


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