The aim of this study is to identify challenges in multi-stakeholder relationships and to provide recommendations on how to manage complexity within these complex systems. The sugar industry under investigation is composed of diverse stakeholders who pursue various objectives, and complexity arises from these multiple interactions. Complexity theory is used here to analyse stakeholder relationships in a mill area in the sugar industry. The qualitative research approach is used. In-depth, semi-structured interviews are conducted with various stakeholder groups who are able to provide insight into the challenges in the mill area—and how these can be addressed. Thematic analysis is used. An analysis of the interactions reveals that stakeholders face overlapping problems, increasing demands, and an uncertain future. Relationships are characterised by a lack of trust and transparency, and are further strained by organisational structures, control and bureaucracy. The study highlights a dire need for cooperation and for a collectivist culture to achieve a competitive edge. It reveals that stakeholder interaction contributes to systemic awareness, shared strategy and expertise, collective learning, and system-wide goals which in turn impacts positively on performance. Important factors which are found to influence stakeholder interaction include the capacity for change, information, transparency, distributed leadership, flexible organisational structures, and the capacity of stakeholders to contribute. This study provides a significant contribution by presenting conceptual models to better understand multi-stakeholder scenarios.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 11, 2014
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