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Stakeholder engagement in the field of sustainability in Malaysia

Ahmad, Adura (2016) Stakeholder engagement in the field of sustainability in Malaysia. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This study is concerned with sustainability and stakeholder engagement practices in the palm oil and mining sectors in Malaysia after they received accumulated pressure from dominant stakeholders, such as NGOs and the local community. It considers how the companies in the two sectors strategically adopt and follow stakeholder engagement practices through alliance and collaboration with the state so as to secure their legitimacy. The study also highlights the role of power differentials among the companies, the state and civil society in enforcing the companies’ sustainability behaviour change. As such, it provides an in-depth analysis of the organisational practice of stakeholder engagement by looking at the political economy and social context. This study takes an in-depth case study approach using 45 interviews with companies, the state and the civil society, supported by analysis of publicly available information. Through a Bourdieusian theoretical lens, this study explores the sustainability field in Malaysia to understand the stakeholder engagement from multiple viewpoints in addressing the stakeholders’ conflict and power dynamics. The sustainability field in this research is an arena of social practice wherein key actor such as the company, the state and civil society are positioned with certain interests. All forms of social engagement in this field are analysed in terms of their particular logic of practice. The study found that the stakeholder engagement made by the companies with the support of the state sought to naturalise the view that the companies’ operation is not harmful to the environment and the society. The companies collaborate and ally with the state to promote their economic interests. The companies gain power and domination conferred by the state through these partnerships in achieving economic benefits, which then, create symbolic violence. As a result, stakeholder engagement does not seem to solve the sustainability controversy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Adura Ahmad
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2017 14:05
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2017 14:05

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