Managerial perceptions of stakeholder salience in mining

Managerial perceptions of stakeholder salience in mining

G Model EXIS 245 No. of Pages 10 The Extractive Industries and Society xxx (2016) xxx–xxx Contents lists available at ScienceDirect The Extractive ...

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G Model EXIS 245 No. of Pages 10

The Extractive Industries and Society xxx (2016) xxx–xxx

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

The Extractive Industries and Society journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/exis

Original article

Managerial perceptions of stakeholder salience in mining Hector Viveros Department of Marketing and Management, Macquarie University, Eastern Road, North Ryde 2109, Sydney NSW, Australia

A R T I C L E I N F O

Article history: Received 16 April 2015 Received in revised form 13 August 2016 Accepted 13 August 2016 Available online xxx Keywords: Stakeholder salience Power Legitimacy Urgency Mining

A B S T R A C T

The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of stakeholder salience by exploring managerial perceptions of salience attributes in the mining industry in Chile. The study takes a qualitative approach to analyse semi-structured interviews using thematic analysis in relation to managers’ perceptions. While managers have different views regarding salience attributes, legitimacy is unanimously considered as the most relevant attribute because it provides credibility, transparency and improving chances for networking. The findings also suggest that managers perceive communities, government and unions as the most salient stakeholders. However, views differ regarding NGOs and media, particularly regarding their legitimacy. ã 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Freeman (1984) in his seminal work, Strategic management: A stakeholder approach, introduced the stakeholder topic into the debate in business and management. According to Freeman, the concept of a stakeholder refers to ‘any group or individual who is affected by or can affect the achievement of an organization’s objectives’ (p. 46). In this sense, as a result of a company’s operations, positive or negative impacts can affect these groups. According to Freeman and Liedtka (1991), this theory is sufficient to explain the relationship between business and society. In doing this, stakeholder theory has been broadly applied considering different approaches (Donaldson and Preston 1995; Stoney and Winstanley, 2001) in terms of who may affect companies’ objectives (Waxenberger and Spence, 2003) and who may be affected by companies’ activities (Bowie, 1991). In this sense, companies are responsible for their impacts, benefits and damages to every stakeholder. Accordingly, stakeholder theory takes into account different groups as a network that surrounds company activities. Several studies have focused on defining and redefining the stakeholder concept (Freeman, 1984; Magness, 2008; Zakhem, 2008 to name a few) in order to identify them clearly. However, these groups are quite diverse and change across sectors. After Freeman’s conceptualisation of the stakeholder theory, Clarkson (1995) goes further to classify stakeholders into two groups. For Clarkson, the concept of stakeholder relates to ‘persons or groups

that have, or claim, ownership, rights or interests in a corporation and its activities’ (p. 106). Following this notion, stakeholders are classified as primary or secondary. In these categories, primary stakeholders are those who are vital for the company survival. On the contrary, secondary stakeholders are not an essential part nor involved in transactions with the company. Thus, shareholders, employees, communities, consumers and suppliers are identified as primary, whilst the media or NGOs are categorised as secondary. One of the questions concerning this theory relates to the identification of stakeholders and their position in terms of relevance in the stakeholder map. Some scholars consider power dependence as one aspect to evaluate (Freeman and Reed, 1983; Jawahar and McLaughlin, 2001) and legitimacy as another attribute to assess stakeholder importance and value (Hill and Jones, 1992; Langtry, 1994). Freeman (1994) pointed out that stakeholder theory was grounded under the premise of ‘who or what really counts’ in terms of decision-making. Consequently, and integrating the attributes previously mentioned, Mitchell et al. (1997) addressed the complexity in identifying and prioritising different groups of stakeholders. These scholars expand the notion of stakeholder theory, appealing to the process of stakeholder identification in order to prioritise them in relation to their salience. In this sense, the authors define salience as ‘the degree to which managers give priority to competing stakeholder claims’ (p. 869). Thus, the salience of different stakeholders is assessed according to the presence or absence of three attributes: power, legitimacy and urgency. According to this framework, power is considered as the ability to bring about the outcomes stakeholders want by imposing their will through different mechanisms. For example, power held by stakeholders in a dominant position

E-mail address: [email protected] (H. Viveros). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2016.08.008 2214-790X/ã 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Please cite this article in press as: H. Viveros, Managerial perceptions of stakeholder salience in mining, Extr. Ind. Soc. (2016), http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1016/j.exis.2016.08.008

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regarding critical resources will have the power to influence decision-making (Salancik and Pfeffer, 1974). In terms of legitimacy, it is seen as an attribute that gives the general perception that stakeholder actions are appropriate, proper or desirable in a social system (Suchman, 1995). Urgency relates to the ability to demand immediate attention, particularly when stakeholder’s claims are time sensitive (Mitchell et al., 1997). Through these attributes it’s possible to identify and determine which stakeholders are more salient or influential. Stakeholder salience research focuses on how managers perceive and assess salient stakeholders. For example, Agle et al. (1999) evaluated CEOs’ perceptions of stakeholder attributes and values in large American companies, finding that stakeholder attributes (power, legitimacy and urgency) do affect the way managers prioritise different stakeholder groups. Fernandez and Nieto (2004) analysed managerial perceptions of stakeholder salience in the manufacturing sector in Spain regarding environmental issues. Results in this study showed a hierarchy among stakeholders, with the government being the most salient group. A similar approach was applied by Parent and Deephouse (2007) in order to examine the way managers identify and prioritise stakeholder groups in sporting events. Their findings support the salience framework advanced by Mitchell et al., identifying power as the attribute with the most relevant impact on salience followed by urgency and then legitimacy. In a similar vein, Magness (2008) examined shareholder and manager dynamics in relation to environmental issues in the mining industry and the impact on salience and decision-makers. Magness’ findings pointed out that stakeholder status is determined and prioritised by the perception of decision-makers. In this sense, Crilly and Sloan (2012) consider an inside-out approach based on the premise of how managers do pay attention to stakeholders in order to understand their relationship with the environment around firms, particularly stakeholder groups. Therefore, a managerial perspective to stakeholders attributes in terms of salience might contribute to further discussions and shed light for a better understanding on managers’ attention to stakeholders for company considerations. The reason for studying stakeholder salience in the mining sector is twofold. Firstly, as it will be described in more detail in the next section, this industry is highly relevant for the economic development in a country like Chile. However, there is a lack of research on this topic in terms of managerial perceptions of stakeholder salience in this sector. Secondly, according to Smith et al. (2005), stakeholder salience will vary across different countries and industries where companies and stakeholders can have different roles. Thus, studies regarding stakeholder salience should address specific countries and sectors as a starting point in order to provide evidence for further comparative research. For example, Dong et al. (2014) suggests that salient stakeholders in developed nations are not seen as salient in the Chinese mining industry. Moreover, when dealing with multistakeholders, conflicting interest among stakeholders is one of the main issues that companies need to address. This task can be difficult work to do by which it is necessary to understand the relevance of these groups for companies regarding salience attributes (Greeno and Robinson, 1992). Finally, it is important to gain knowledge and evidence in regards to managerial perceptions of stakeholder groups, as salient stakeholders can be drivers for change and influence companies in terms of important topics such as social responsibility (Islam and Deegan, 2008). This paper seeks to shed light on stakeholder salience by analysing manager’s perceptions of this topic in the Chilean mining industry. Although there has been a growing interest in Mitchell’s et al. framework (Agle et al., 1999; Banerjee, 2000; Driscoll and Starik, 2004; Fernandez and Nieto, 2004; Magness, 2008;

Mattingly, 2004; Mitchell et al., 2011; Myllykangas et al., 2010; Neville et al., 2011; Parent and Deephouse, 2007; Ryan and Schneider, 2003; Tashman and Raelin, 2013; Thijssens et al., 2015; Vilanova, 2007), salience studies in developing and mining nations like Chile remain limited. Therefore the aim of this article is to answer the following research question: how do managers perceive salience attributes when dealing with stakeholders? 2. Research context The empirical basis of this article is the Chilean mining sector. Chile is recognised as a country rich in mineral resources and a mining based economy ranking among leading developed economies such as Australia and Canada. In this sense, the Policy Potential Index (McMahon and Cervantes, 2011) ranks Chile as one of the top 10 mining economies in terms of the attractiveness in mineral endowment and public policy. Government policies and mineral endowment have provided the baseline for the current economic growth in Chile (Maxwell, 2004), helping to improve the levels of development in different areas such as infrastructure and employment (Aroca 2002, 2007; ICMM, 2007; Lagos and Blanco, 2010) and therefore, to build the foundations to reach the status of a high-income country in the near future. Moreover, since 2010 Chile has been a member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), being the only country in South America that has joined this organisation. This represents a symbol of the political and economic stability that Chile has achieved in the last decade. Figures regarding the latest socioeconomic characteristic of the Chilean economy (OECD, 2016) report a GDP per capita of US$22,197 and an annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 2.5%, a higher rate than the 2.1% average in the OECD. Based on a population of 17.8 million, the level of unemployment was 6.4%, lower than the 7.4% average of the OECD countries. The main mining commodities are copper, gold, silver and molybdenum, with Chile the world’s largest copper producer, accounting for 30% of reserves and 29% of the global production. Mining production is exported to Asia with China being the main consumer of copper (50%) followed by European markets (14%). This industry has a relevant impact in the GDP, which accounted on average for about 10% during the period 2014–2015. The contribution to the GDP in this industry has previously reached levels above 20%, representing a sector with one of the highest economic impacts in the country. Mining exports in 2015 have accounted for about 53% of the total Chilean exports. It is also a big attraction for foreign direct investment (FDI), representing 33% of the overall FDI in Chile during the period 2012–2014. In terms of employment rates, this sector provides about 800,000 direct and indirect jobs which accounts for 9.5% of national employment (Consejo Minero de Chile, 2016). This confirms the relevance of the mining industry for the country and its recognition as Chile’s growth driver. 3. Method This article analyses data from interviews with four senior managers of four well known mining companies in Chile (Table 1). These companies play a relevant role in the industry not only in terms of market share but also regarding their commitment to social responsibility and sustainability. Managers interviewed for this study are decision-makers in charge of the departments of sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and community management. In this particular industry, sustainability or CSR managers are in charge of issues related to stakeholder management in terms of effective engagement between companies and stakeholder groups. Therefore, the interviewees are relevant actors

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Table 1 Participants.

Manager Manager Manager Manager

1 2 3 4

Company

Participant’s role

Interview

Multinational Domestic Domestic Multinational

Community Manager Community Relations Manager Sustainability Manager CSR Superintendent

Individual Individual Individual Individual

with experience and knowledge in the mining industry as well as in the CSR discussion. This makes them a knowledgeable group of participants with understanding of the topic under study and a good source of information (Creswell, 2003; Duarte, 2010; Miles and Huberman, 1994). This paper takes a qualitative approach based on the analysis of semi-structured interviews undertaking in 2012. Recruitment was arranged by telephone and face-to-face meeting in order to discuss and inform participants about the scope of the study. Due to the sensitivity of the questions and because of the nature of the study, with mining a controversial industry in Chile, participants asked for full anonymity, particularly because the easiness to identify them or their companies if more details are provided such as city or region. Thus, to assure their participation, anonymity was assured to every manager in exchange of full collaboration in terms of perceptions and experiences. Then, after acceptance, written consent was provided by participants prior to proceeding with a tape-recorded interview conducted in Spanish for the same researcher. The duration of the interviews was from 1 to 11/2 h. The whole material was transcribed and translated into English. Participants were asked their perceptions about salience attributes (power, legitimacy and urgency) regarding stakeholder groups. A card with the definition of each attribute, based on Mitchell et al. (1997), was shown to participants suggesting explanations for each attribute when needed. Some of the questions used as part of a guide to obtain perceptions of the topic discussed were: What do you think is your role as manager?; Can you identify stakeholders with power? How is this attribute (power) expressed or used?; Do you think some attribute is more relevant than others? If so, which one? Similar questions were followed regarding the attribute of legitimacy and urgency. This discussion was based on five stakeholder groups (communities, government, unions, NGOs and media) because these groups were previously identified on CSR and sustainability reports, media reports and similar research articles (Owen and Kemp, 2013; Prebble, 2005; Prno and Slocombe, 2012). There was also a practical reason. Although the range of stakeholders in the industry is broad, it is beyond the scope of this paper to address additional stakeholder groups such as shareholders or customers. This is because accessing these groups is complicated in terms of time and resource constraints from a research perspective (main shareholders and customers are based overseas). Finally, after transcription the data was coded through a thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006; Creswell, 2003) using NVIVO software, a computer-based qualitative research package. This allows working with coded information in order to identify different themes and insights from managers regarding salience attributes and different stakeholder groups. Relevant phrases, comments and descriptions mentioned by participants were highlighted, coded and named as category. For example, regarding the attribute of power; comments about contribution, results, outcomes, achievements were categorized as ‘helps in achieving results’. Then, paragraphs or sentences expressing similar thoughts and ideas were included under this theme. This process was applied considering every attribute and participant in order to enrich the existing categories as well as to generate new ones. In

interview, interview, interview, interview,

61 min 86 min 59 min 56 min

some cases categories were merged to broader some ideas. These categories were listed and assigned to participants’ responses. Finally, the analysis was complemented using notes taken during the interviews and considering perceptions or concepts that contradict coding themes. 4. Findings This section presents managers’ views on power, legitimacy and urgency. Then, a closer examination of the perceptions held by managers regarding communities, government, unions, NGOs and media. Managers recognise that salience attributes provide distinctive characteristics and advantages to stakeholders holding these attributes as summarised in Table 2. First, among the characteristics associated to the attribute of power, managers agree and highlight the voice that power gives to stakeholders when they are involved in discussions with multiple stakeholders in relation to the decision-making in mining projects. Managers consider power as a form of influence that can be exerted in the form of legal and institutionalised power or through social pressure. This attribute is seen as a tool that allows stakeholders to be involved in different debates regarding issues in the mining industry as well as different sensitive social areas. Some interviewees explain that the attribute is necessary in the context of inclusion and participation. Further, the attribute of power is also an element associated with productivity in terms of the influence required to push collaboration among the whole spectrum of stakeholders. Regarding legitimacy, there was consensus across managers that this attribute is the most relevant. Legitimacy is undoubtedly considered as an attribute highly desirable and mandatory for stakeholders within the industry. Managers concur in the credibility that legitimacy provides to stakeholders and the benefits in terms of transparency that this attribute brings to relations. The contribution in building partnerships and collaboration when participants are seen as legitimate players is also highlighted. Such perception is reinforced based on interactions between companies and diverse stakeholder groups such as collaboration in diverse mining initiatives with communities and networking across stakeholders. The identification of legitimate stakeholders is especially relevant when companies try to obtain and maintain the desired social license to operate. Thus, engaging those legitimate stakeholders will improve companies’ chances to contribute in terms of proposing and evaluating actions in conjunction with legitimised voices in order to meet social expectations. In this sense, legitimacy in stakeholder groups is also seen as an enhancer for a more socially responsible commitment. Finally, regarding the attribute of urgency, managers agree that this attribute, essentially and by definition, puts pressure on companies when dealing with environmental issues and helps to raise awareness among stakeholders in order to cooperate and discuss matters produced or related to mining. Managers also consider that urgency might speed up decisions and consequently actions. Urgency is seen as any demand that requires a specific timeframe to respond. For example, urgencies are associated to

Please cite this article in press as: H. Viveros, Managerial perceptions of stakeholder salience in mining, Extr. Ind. Soc. (2016), http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1016/j.exis.2016.08.008

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Table 2 Managerial perception of salience attributes. Manager 1

Manager 2

Manager 3

Manager 4

p

p

p

p

p

p

p

Power  Helps in achieving results

 Gives a voice in the decision-making process

p

 Turns stakeholders into a referent for other groups  Gives reputation

p

Exemplary quotes

I think that in order to participate in different scenarios and, in some way to be validated, it is necessary to have some demonstrations of power so [stakeholders] can give their opinion.

p It is also a matter of efficiency, because you can have a very interesting initiative but if you [as stakeholder] don’t have the power to gather all the groups of stakeholders you should gather, it is unlikely that things will work.

Legitimacy  Puts groups in a higher position in relation to other stakeholders

 Provides credibility

p

 Brings transparency to relationships

p

p

p

Legitimacy will build trust and will generate an ongoing relationship with and among stakeholders. Groups with this attribute will be able to develop actions that give [them] power and also they are going to be able to develop some actions in times of urgency. But this is only if [stakeholders] are a legitimate person or group, only if they are legitimised  Stakeholders with good credibility can gather other stakeholder groups, and the possibilities of networking are broader.

p

 Provides acceptance by other groups  Improves networking and strategic alliances

p

p

p

p

p

p

p

p

p

p The lack of legitimacy affects basic things such as building credibility to work together . . . ultimately it disempowers [groups]. Lack of legitimacy or little legitimacy takes away power and credibility . . . In the case of any stakeholder group, if someone thinks you're not a legitimate stakeholder, other groups are not going to take part in or become involved in any initiative you have, or will be against that particular group.

Urgency  Is used as strategy to access other stakeholders/companies

 Puts pressure on companies, especially environmental urgencies  Sensitises other stakeholders to help and collaborate  Helps to focalise immediate responses to claims

p

p

p

p

p

p

p

p

p

p

p

p

For stakeholders with urgencies . . . I think that timing in social processes is important. Somehow, to be socially responsible you have to capture the needs and to have an immediate and frank response. This is also about credibility. Deep down, if you don’t give the required urgency to some issues, the credibility is compromised.

When you give a sense of urgency, you give the value your respective stakeholders [with this attribute] expect from you. You give them the platform, give them the space and the answers, which otherwise could take forever. This is what you see when you see urgencies, this is what urgencies do.

emergencies in terms of environmental disasters produced by natural forces such as tremors or floods. It is also perceived as failures in mining processes that eventually end up in environmental concerns. Therefore, stakeholders perceived as urgency holders are considered by managers as an opportunity to show their commitment, response and engagement with those groups.

4.1. Stakeholder power Regarding different stakeholders in the industry, managers identify and mention communities as one of the most relevant stakeholders. Geographical proximity to mining operations and their impacts on communities are the reasons for this, stating it as a ‘zone of influence’. As a result, resident communities or nearby communities are a group of special interest for managers.

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Accountability for their activities to leaders and community representatives of these groups are especially taken into account in this sector due to the increased pressure, demands and questioning from social movements. Particularly in this industry, communities are characterised by a varied composition in terms of backgrounds. In this sense, communities may be constituted by people identified as non-indigenous and groups self-identified with some indigenous background, which also varies across and within regions. Thus, communities are identified as non-indigenous, indigenous, a mix of both, mix of indigenous, etc. which adds complexity to stakeholder identification and prioritisation by managers. Regarding this, managers have special interest for groups identified as indigenous due to the legislation related to indigenous matters, their rights and policies as stipulated in the ILO Convention 169. However, despite the legislation and its principles there is still a sense of interpretation of this legislation that is not shared or known by different stakeholders in the industry. Accordingly and as pointed out by interviewees: Indigenous communities know they have a tool for exerting pressure that until a couple of years ago they didn't have. Nowadays even more with the convention 169, although I think there is still much ignorance and lack of knowledge about its scope. [Manager 3] Managers unanimously recognised the incumbent participation of the government as a stakeholder, highlighting the key role they play in the industry as a regulator based on its institutional power. The government represents an influential stakeholder that also plays a mediator role between companies and communities when communication between these two groups fails, especially in situations of emergency or conflicts. Usually, as pointed out by one manager, conflicts are related to water consumption due to the water shortage in mining areas. This industry uses water and the issue about water is without question a byproduct of our operations. I mean environmental issues. So we have to sit down and discuss this with communities and governmental authorities. Obviously they do have a say, a strong say in this regard. [Manager 3] Another stakeholder group that is a focus of attention for managers is represented by unions. This group is depicted as essential for the survival of companies as they are the engine of the operations and a key partner in the business in terms of production. Unions know how fundamental they are and the strong position they have within companies. Despite managers’ recognition of the powerful presence of unions in companies, they also point out certain lack of knowledge, training or direction in some areas that unions need to improve, acknowledging that: They have power but also they need more training, they need more preparation and upskilling in order to have a more productive discussion. [Manager 2] Whereas managers considered the role of the media as relevant and important as any other stakeholder, they see this group from an instrumental perspective. They recognise the media is an influential stakeholder due to their role as communicator and therefore powerful. Consequently, managers try to maintain a good relationship with them. From a strategic point of view, companies look at this group in order to help them to build or look after the public image companies have as media can play a role as an ally or opposition. However, managers also point out that despite the role media has, it is expected to provide a more professional and deeper analyses in their articles. Some interviewees held views of media providing information that needs more research or an impartial approach in order to avoid sensationalism. In a similar vein, when participants were asked about NGOs, respondents suggest they play a key role as independent groups

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despite the fact that they work together in some form of partnerships, alliances or consultants. In addition, managers consider that NGOs do influence, giving them the status of a powerful stakeholder because they act as a sort of liaison providing guidance in the areas where they consider there is a gap. Accordingly, a manager also explains that this guidance in some cases may depend on the area of interest or line of work of some NGOs. Such perception implies that influence is restricted to the aspects they want to call for attention such as housing, environmental pollution, community rights, water consumption or community engagement to name a few. 4.2. Stakeholder legitimacy Communities as stakeholders are identified as highly legitimate by every manager interviewed in this study. Managers consider communities geographically around their operations as the social component when talking about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the social element in the desired social license to operate in the mining industry. Communities, either indigenous or nonindigenous, are perceived as the key legitimate stakeholder for companies because they are the receivers of direct and indirect impacts of companies in terms of benefits such as economic growth and regional development, as well as the negative side of mining such as environmental pollution or issues related to water consumption and land rights. Two groups that are unanimously reported as well legitimated are the government and unions. On one hand, government appears as legitimated institutionally due to its objectives as regulator and its capacity for enforcement under the current legislation regarding natural resources. In this sense, they are commanded to look after social and environmental matters as an authority to represent national and local interest. Managers have specially highlighted the proficiency and professionalism of this group when dealing with companies even in cases or resolutions delivering adverse ruling or requests for mining companies as exemplified by these participants: I think it has been shown that the government responds to companies, especially a much more technical government that responds to things well done. That also has given them much more legitimacy from different perspectives. [Manager 4] Unions are also perceived by managers as stakeholders with high levels of legitimacy. They are depicted as a key part of the ‘mining machinery’ in which workers represented by unions are seen as partners. This is a group of special interest for companies because they are well known for the power they have in the industry in terms of negotiation and collective bargaining. Managers are more critical regarding NGOs and media in terms of their legitimacy as stakeholders. In terms of NGOs, managers recognise their role in the sector but at the same time, they raise some aspects they see as shortcomings in these groups. In this sense, despite managers recognising the legitimacy of NGOs, they tend to remark and point out the need of practicality in the work of these groups, a sense of real contribution that needs to transcend discussions or publications with no value-added. Thus, there is a concern regarding NGOs driven by a sense of narrow or limited activity as expressed by participants as: I feel that they lose legitimacy when they are not linked, connected [with other stakeholder groups] If you remain only in theoretical concepts rather than practical applications, which is sometimes the case, I feel that is when they lose legitimacy. [Manager 1] Finally, the media represents a controversial stakeholder in terms of its legitimacy. On one hand, for some participants this stakeholder is depicted as a credible participant in the stakeholder

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map. It is exemplified in some cases as a partner due to its role as a communicator which is used by companies to inform activities. On the other hand, the media is questioned by some managers in terms of the information provided to the public as lacking proper research or framed sometimes as a sensationalist stakeholder rather than practical and objective. Thus, participants state that if this group presents traces of a legitimate player, its activities and procedures in some cases delegitimise them. This is seen as detrimental and consequently lessening or simply taking legitimacy away. They quickly lose legitimacy when they do not fulfil a social role. I think they disqualify themselves. [Manager 1] 4.3. Stakeholder urgency Manager’s responses regarding communities and the attribute of urgency is pointed out in similar terms as a group that is continuously in the top of their priorities. This sense of prioritisation ranks communities in the first place of company responsibilities regarding urgencies in different areas. I feel we have many things to do. Environmental management issues, conditions of participation in projects, etc. We have made good progress but we need to do much more. While gaps are so broad in social, environmental and labour issues, I think there is an important sense of urgency in communities. [Manager 3] Similarly, government demands are portrayed as urgent because managers recognise that government’s urgencies are translated in terms of their own needs. Accordingly, companies would operate and follow the pace required by the government in projects and activities solicited by this entity, particularly in terms of compliance with environmental legislation. Regarding unions, a high sense of urgency is shared by managers. Perceived urgencies by managers describe unions as a cohesive group that are able to express their concerns in terms of labour conditions. These urgencies might vary across companies depending on contractual situations and labour conditions such as permanent workers or subcontracted workers and their particular cases. NGOs are also highlighted as a stakeholder group with urgency regarding their claims. In this sense, NGOs are seen as a player able to connect companies with their immediate or primary stakeholders providing first-hand information due to their links with communities and other groups as a result of their permanent fieldwork. However, not all participants consider NGOs having the attribute of urgency. Particularly, when those NGOs are perceived as having a narrow scope or limited interests, which not necessarily represent a direct impact nor matter of concern. In a similar way, only one manager described media activities as urgent, and based in relation to cases or media publications in which mining activities are portrayed or syndicated as responsible, or in some way connected to social and environmental events. This is especially relevant when mining crisis are covered by the media, due to the issues reported potentially leading to negative or controversial responses by other groups such as communities and government if not dealt with promptly. Finally, perceptions regarding stakeholder power, legitimacy and urgency are exemplified in Table 3. 5. Discussion According to the stakeholder theory, there is a recognition that every stakeholder have an intrinsic value and therefore, stakeholders’ claims or circumstances shouldn’t be put over other stakeholders’ interests and needs (Clarkson, 1995; Donaldson and Preston, 1995) despite the relevance or power assigned to them.

However, in practical terms, this sense of equality in the eyes of managers is substituted by a sense of prioritisation in terms of managerial attention as proposed by Mitchell et al. (1997, 2011). This prioritisation was expressed in the presence or absence of salience attributes, and more importantly, to the associated benefits or characteristics these attributes give to stakeholders. Thus, managerial views toward salience attributes were found to have, to some extent, similar appreciations. For example, in regards to power, managers describe four main characteristics that this attribute provides to stakeholders. It is highlighted that power as attribute can give a voice, putting stakeholders in a more favourable position in decision-making processes in relation to other less powerful groups or those lacking this attribute. This characteristic was also suggested by Kaptein and Van Tulder (2003) in terms of how managers can be subjected to pressures by powerful groups. Evidence in this study has also indicated that the stakeholder ability to exert pressure on companies was associated to those seen as possessors of the attribute of urgency. Managers unanimously highlight the attention paid to pressures posed by stakeholders based on urgent claims but also for the support gained from other players in the sector due to the nature of the urgency. This attribute might trigger responses from different groups as multistakeholder dialogues (King and Lenox, 2000; Rasche, 2012), acting together and mobilised by a sentiment of necessity or tragedy. This is clearly highlighted in terms of environmental disasters and social concerns such a pollution, water consumption and land rights. Therefore, managers use urgency as a natural way of prioritisation, which is in line with Fernandez and Nieto (2004) who found that urgency in environmental cases, will significantly influence stakeholder salience. This is also supported by Neville et al. (2011) in terms of the relevance of this attribute for prioritization, as it provides a dynamic aspect to salience. It is worthwhile noting that across managers there is a strong view of the role of legitimacy as the most salient attribute in the sector. Furthermore, stakeholders identified as possessors of legitimacy would compensate for the lack or low perception of other attributes. Similar results were provided by Fernandez and Nieto (2004), suggesting that legitimacy in environmental matters is perceived by managers as the most influential attribute. Similarly, Neville et al. (2011) suggest that this attribute remains as primary for stakeholder salience. Further, Meyer and Rowan (1977) and Carroll and Hannan (1989) using institutional and population ecology theory respectively, suggested that legitimacy is the attribute that really matters in order to be identified as a stakeholder from a managerial perspective. Accordingly, managers in this sector will pay special attention to groups seen as legitimate because these stakeholders are reliable and transparent; and therefore, they can contribute in developing projects either as an independent group or in conjunction with other participants in the form of networks or alliances. Findings in this study also suggest that managerial views tend to align with the classical approach of Clarkson (1995) and the status of primary and secondary stakeholders. Clarkson assigns high levels of salience to groups such as communities, government and unions, perceived as primary stakeholders based on contractual commitments between companies and these stakeholders. In this sense, and according to the findings previously presented, managers see a social commitment with communities and therefore, they are seen as salient stakeholders possessing the three attributes investigated. Such managerial perception was largely framed based on mining impacts, positive and negative, and the legitimate rights for urgent solution to communities’ claims as also found by Fernandez and Nieto (2004). These perceptions are in line with Cragg and Greenbaum’s (2002) findings, who pointed out the role of companies in providing benefits and avoiding damages

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H. Viveros / The Extractive Industries and Society xxx (2016) xxx–xxx Table 3 Managerial view on Stakeholders’ salience attributes | Exemplary quotes. Power Community

Legitimacy Nowadays I believe that communities know they have, mainly through the media as a communicational issue, the ability ‘to armwrestle’ with companies. The leaders, who already have experience, know they have the power to negotiate with companies. [Manager 4]

Government Actually all the public sector is powerful, the regional governments, local governments. Those are the most powerful, with which we have the toughest game of all. [Manager 1]

Union

They are our permanent partners through which we generate our operations and [unions] have a lot of power when they are negotiating working conditions. [Manager 1]

NGOs

NGOs are an independent third party even if they have an agreement with us. One of the things we ask them is to always remain independent. They can influence [us and others], they can transmit a message but it depends on the motivations NGOs have. [Manager 3]

Media

a

I am convinced that there is much legitimacy in the organisations, their leaders and their constituents . . . They certainly are legitimated and fundamental for the development of the most vulnerable sectors. [Manager 3] The transparency in their requests, decisions and delivery of information make them legitimate, regardless of whether or not we agree with some of their decisions or actions. [Manager 2] This area is an area where the percentage of unionism is much higher. No doubt workers through their unions have strong legitimacy. They are fully legitimised. Yes, absolutely they are legitimate. [Manager 2] I think they have less legitimacy. I mean, they are a legitimate group but I see them sometimes less objective because they generally have a welldefined agenda. Most of them have specific niches or areas. So I think in terms of legitimacy, it is low. [Manager 4]

Urgency Communities’ concerns always have a level of importance to us, [their] urgencies are going to be treated so together we make this thing work. [Manager 2]

We have our own roadmap, work plans. But they do monitor and supervise us. They have their own work plans and therefore we have the urgency they have for those plans so you have to be alert and conscious about them, about their work and priorities. [Manager 3]

Of course they have urgencies. They have urgencies but related to their own domain, their sphere of work. Those are their issues. For example, issues related to health . . . those kinds of things. [Manager 1]

NGOs with which we work tell us; please look at this issue now because it is urgent. This is important because they can bring us requirements that sometimes the communities have not been able to express directly. [Manager 3]

Just like legitimacy, some NGOs lack urgency because they are focused only in one aspect which is defined by previous agendas. This is why sometimes their claims or urgencies do not necessarily sound like imperative or urgent needs. [Manager 4]a They have the power to influence the public opinion. However, their I believe in the media, They report what they want but that does not necessarily translate logic is to generate attention and that attention sometimes is using they are responsible, into urgent matters, particularly when they are questioned or when misinformation, partial information or information that is not respectful and they have credibility or transparency issues. [Manager 3]a always balanced. That generates attention but not necessarily collaborators. For me provides information. [Manager 1] the media is special. I have been working with the media for years and I like the way they are. They are extremely decent to work with. [Manager 2] If you look at the news, and you do a text or content analysis about the deepening of what the newspapers say, the truth is that they don't say much . . . there is no consistency and that affects the credibility. [Manager 4]a

Quote exemplifying a lack of the attribute.

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to this group. In regards to government, similar results, although in other context, were found by Harvey and Schaefer (2001) and Fernandez and Nieto (2004). The first ones point to institutional power based on legislation and regulations as source of salience. Hence, the government is depicted as a salient stakeholder. On the other hand, Fernandez and Nieto highlight the government as an incumbent player in social and environmental issues, which is the reason why this group is portrayed as salient. Not surprisingly, unions are also described as powerful stakeholders with legitimate and urgent demands. In this sense, Duran-Palma and Lopez (2009) highlight the strong pressure that unions in this industry are able to exert in order to be heard. Unions may use strikes as a mechanism of pressure to achieve negotiations and agreements. Certainly, these characteristics are clearly recognised by managers in regards to unions’ attributes, placing them also as a salient group. There is no similar appraisal across participants when salience attributes in NGOs and media are assessed. While power, legitimacy and urgency are mentioned as attributes that NGOs possess, the level of legitimacy and urgency is questioned. Lack of connections and networking in terms of collaboration with other stakeholders as well as the practicality and usefulness of NGOs’ work arise as main concerns. Similar concerns have been pointed out by Harvey and Schaefer (2001), suggesting that NGOs activities should be publicly acknowledged in order to improve their legitimacy before different stakeholders and managers. Thus, despite the recognition of NGOs as drivers and relevant players in the improvement of socially responsible practices (Arenas et al., 2009), there are concerns about their legitimacy and in some cases this attribute is socially questioned. Managers recognise the potential power that media can have in this industry. However, it has been criticised for its questionable legitimacy. This managerial assessment is neither novel nor surprising. Media has been called on to pay attention to the negligence in the treatment of stakeholders and corporate wrongdoings. Pfarrer et al. (2008) stated that this stakeholder might increase its salience particularly in reporting and informing environmental and social issues, which are not uncommon in mining, an industry that faces criticisms due to their responsibilities in causing or increasing these kinds of issues (Kemp et al., 2011; Pegg, 2006; Wheeler et al., 2002). Thus, some managers disregard media, providing a similar assessment as Harvey and Schaefer (2001) in terms of being a group seen as hostile or not a fully legitimate player. Divergent perceptions of NGOs and media might indicate that salience regarding these groups might vary due to poor or not well coordinated engagement programs, particularly when perceptions of legitimacy towards these groups remain low, questioned and under constant scrutiny. Certainly, managers interviewed in this study identified these two groups as secondary stakeholders lacking legitimacy or proper levels of engagement with companies. This is a wake-up call for these groups regarding their salience status, particularly considering that managers focus their attention and tend to provide a positive response to well legitimated groups (Eesley and Lenox, 2006). Finally, when these findings are taken together, they provide some clues to better understand the way managers perceive and interact with stakeholders in this particular context. Perceptions of legitimacy seem to be a central aspect of salience, and accordingly, it could be suggested that the distinction of stakeholders as possessor of this attribute might be even more important for managers than the distinction between primary or secondary stakeholder. This assumption does not disregard the utility of stakeholder classification as primary or secondary. However, this classification should be closely linked to the salience of the stakeholders, particularly to the legitimacy attribute. This due to the distinction of a group as a legitimate stakeholder for managers,

would bring that group to the ‘front of the queue’ in terms of attention, even when that group is classified as secondary stakeholder. Therefore, for managerial practices, legitimacy would go beyond stakeholder classification. That is, assisting in stakeholder prioritisation and consequently further engagement. This is relevant not only from a managerial perspective but also from a stakeholder standpoint. Stakeholders in some way, compete for managerial attention regarding corporate actions in terms of responsible practices, especially when considering that managerial time and resources are limited. Notwithstanding the relevance of salience attributes, managers should be cautious not to misunderstand or misinterpret stakeholders based on isolated perceptions. This is particularly relevant when dealing with salient stakeholders and their capacity to influence (Mishra and Suar, 2010), especially in order to avoid conflicts (Hillenbrand and Money, 2009; Valor and Merino de Diego, 2009; Slack, 2012). Therefore, it’s necessary for a thorough assessment taking into account the mix of these attributes to prevent stakeholder mismanagement (Kolk and Pinkse, 2006) and conflicting stakeholder interests (Tashman and Raelin, 2013). Knowing who they are and how salient they are, it can help managers to avoid prioritising some stakeholders, contradicting, avoiding or in detriment of other groups. 6. Conclusion Managerial decisions that eventually impact stakeholders can be better understood by investigating how managers perceive stakeholders regarding attributes of salience and the characteristics associated to them. In this sense, managers do face diverse issues managing stakeholders in this industry, particularly regarding social and environmental matters. Accordingly, this study has aimed to provide some evidence to understand managers’ views in this regard and in this particular context. Thus, managers perceive communities, government and unions as the most salient stakeholders. However, despite the recognition of power in NGOs and media, there is no clear consensus in terms of the presence of legitimacy and urgency. Furthermore, managers unanimously indicate legitimacy as the most relevant attribute because it provides credibility and transparency as well as the contribution in developing alliances and improving networks. It is possible to highlight that legitimacy might enhance and complement the impact of other attributes such as power. On the other hand, a lack or low levels of legitimacy may hinder relations and discourage collaboration. This will have negative effects in terms of constructing long-term relationships between stakeholders and companies as well as putting forward joint initiatives in the sector. Even further, once the idea of a lack of legitimacy is installed, any trace of influence or power held by stakeholders is jeopardised or simply disappears. One particular implication of these findings points to NGOs and media due to the criticised perceptions of these stakeholders as legitimate players. This takes special relevance when NGOs are called on to link companies and stakeholders in sensitive matters in mining; and in the case of the media, to act as watchdog in the industry. In this way, given the predominant tendency for managers to pay attention to this attribute, it would be recommended to investigate different dimensions or elements of legitimacy among NGOs and media taking into account perspectives from other stakeholders and also as a self-perception. For example, and as proposed by Santana (2012), it might be interesting to consider to what extent their claims are actually legitimate. The importance of salience attributes for managers is also another venue that could be further explored. In this sense, the evidence on the relative value of attributes regarding salience is diverse. For example, while findings in this study suggest that

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legitimacy is perceived as the most relevant attribute, Parent and Deephouse (2007) suggested that power is a primary attribute for salience in contrast to Agle et al. (1999) who pointed to urgency as the best predictor for salience. Therefore, this should be a matter to be considered in further research. 7. Limitations This study presents certain limitations that point to the need for further inquiry in order to refine findings and provide suggestions for further research. Firstly, findings in this study might be difficult to compare with other studies due to the context in which they are framed. This opens an opportunity to expand the level of analysis to compare managerial views from other industries and countries. Similarly, the number of participants in this study is low mainly due to the sensitivity of the industry in the national context. However, this first attempt may be considered as a pilot to promote a bigger assessment. Secondly, it has been syndicated that attributes are not fixed in time, and in particular urgency. In this sense, it might be an interesting analysis, the assessment of different levels of salience (high, medium, low) as done by Myllykangas et al. (2010). This could be done in regards to environmental urgency taking as case studies environmental crises in mining. Thirdly, for the purpose of this study, perceptions regarding only newspapers were considered as media due to the limited participation of other forms of media such as TV and radio. This is because they are mainly associated to entertainment rather than communication and information in the geographical areas investigated. Therefore, an assessment of media content regarding mining and stakeholders across traditional mass media (TV, radio, newspapers) and social media (twitter, Facebook) would be interesting in order to provide additional insights regarding participation, power and legitimacy of these means. Acknowledgement I would like to thank to the anonymous reviewers and editor of the journal for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve this paper. References Agle, B., Mitchell, R., Sonnenfeld, B., 1999. Who matters to CEOS? An investigation of stakeholder attributes and salience, corporate performance, and CEO values. Acad. Manage. Rev. 42 (5), 507–525. Arenas, D., Lozano, J., Albareda, L., 2009. The role of NGOs in CSR: Mutual perceptions among stakeholder. J. Bus. Ethics 88, 175–197. Aroca, P., 2002. Impacto de la mineria en la segunda region. In: Meller, P. (Ed.), Dilemas y debates entorno al cobre. Dolmen Ediciones, Santiago, Chile. Aroca, P., 2007. Desigualdades, instrumentos y resultados de la politica regional en Chile. Presentation Made to the Regional Economic Research Workshop. Central Bank, Santiago, Chile. Banerjee, S., 2000. Whose land is it anyway? Organiz. Environ. 13 (1), 3–38. Bowie, N., 1991. New directions in corporate social responsibility. Bus. Horiz. 34 (4), 56–66. Braun, V., Clarke, V., 2006. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual. Res. Psychol. 3 (2), 77–101. Carroll, G., Hannan, M., 1989. Density delay in the evolution of organizational populations: a model and five empirical tests. Adm. Sci. Q. 34 (3), 411–430. Clarkson, M., 1995. A stakeholder framework for analyzing and evaluating corporate social performance. Acad. Manage. Rev. 20 (1), 92–117. Consejo Minero de Chile. (2016). Minería en cifras 2016. www.consejominero.cl. Cragg, W., Greenbaum, A., 2002. Reasoning about responsibilities: mining company managers on what stakeholders are owed. J. Bus. Ethics 39, 319–335. Creswell, J., 2003. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Method Approaches. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA. Crilly, D., Sloan, P., 2012. Enterprise logic: explaining corporate attention to stakeholders from the ‘inside-out’. Strateg. Manage. J. 33, 1174–1193. Donaldson, T., Preston, L., 1995. The stakeholder theory of the corporation: concepts, evidence, and implications. Acad. Manage. Rev. 20 (1), 65–91.

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