(di Alessia Sabbatino)


In the field of corporate citizenship, a major debate is ongoing about stakeholder responsibility towards both firms and other stakeholders. There are indeed several different ways to approach this issue, for example taking into consideration the social responsibility of stakeholders in their own operations and practices or stakeholder responsibilities for the consequences of their unfair behaviors towards companies (eg. theft and fraud). This paper aims at highlighting another side of stakeholder responsibility: the one towards corporate citizenship attitudes, policies, programs and behaviors.

Stakeholders are more and more often called to converse and to cooperate with private sector actors playing a very important role in helping along companies responsible behaviors. In such a way they became out-and-out actors of corporate citizenship policies and programs. Of course, participation implies responsibility. Nevertheless, this dimension of stakeholder responsibility is usually ignored or considered as obvious. It is certainly a great mistake. Indeed, exactly within this specific perspective stakeholder role and responsibilities are extremely important and difficult to define.

For this reason, after some brief remarks on the role that stakeholders can and should play as main interlocutors of companies the attention will be focused on two specific questions: in which way and to what extent stakeholders are and have to be committed to foster responsible business practices and which kind of “dilemmas” stakeholders have to deal with in playing such a role.

The paper tries to thematize these questions analyzing the role that stakeholders have played on the occasion of the tragic "industrial accident" that struck seven workers at the ThyssenKrupp Acciai Speciali Terni steelworks in Turin, on December 2007. The facts are presented as they appeared in the public discourse using the newspaper Il Corriere della Sera as main source.

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