Instrumental Stakeholder Theory in Turbulent Environments: An Empirical Testing using Political and Social Donations
In this paper we empirically tested the instrumental stakeholder theory using firm donation to government and to community as proxy for stakeholder relationship intensity. Two models were applied to a sample of 339 publicly traded firms in Brazil using different performance indicators. In the first model, a multiple regression model estimated the effects of establishing political and social stakeholder relations on firm performance, by comparing donating firms to a control group of non-donating firms. The second model used structural equation modeling to test the mediating effects of stakeholder relationship intensity between firm and industry-level stakeholder orientations and performance on donating firms. In both tested models, our results indicate that instrumental theory hypothesis did not hold for our data. However, findings suggest that the market perceives stakeholder management as a firm cost, and that stakeholder relationship intensity can be explained by a one-dimension construct, measured by firm level indicators that describe the organizational context.