Stakeholder Transformation Process: The Journey of an Indigenous Community

The vast majority of indigenous communities are among the world’s poorest and are unlikely to be engaged in a thriving, mutually beneficial partnership with an MNC. While there are increasing studies on CSR initiatives in base of the pyramid communities, few—if any—feature the self-initiated stakeholder transition of an impoverished community. This paper examines the factors that motivated the stakeholder transformation process of an indigenous community, from its position as a non-stakeholder, one lacking in power and legitimacy, to the status of being a primary stakeholder of the firm. We applied a constructivist grounded theory approach to longitudinal data to arrive at the conceptual framework. The findings presented are drawn from an in-depth case study of the Maasai, an indigenous community from East Africa. The findings point to the existence of entrepreneurial alertness that is instrumental in propelling the indigenous community to evolve from one stakeholder category to the next. Our research aims to propose a possible foundation for how communities deep in poverty can coalesce themselves to make their social needs salient to multinational organizations.

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