Stakeholder engagement : Schiphol airport case : managing engagement with stakeholders when the interests are conflicting
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- Master Thesis 
Stakeholder engagement is the process by which an organization involves people who may be affected by the decisions it makes or can influence the implementation of its decisions. They may support or oppose the decisions, be influential in the organization or within the community in which it operates, hold relevant official positions or be affected in the long-term. Companies are becoming more aware of the environment they operate in, and acknowledge the need to care about sustainability and take into account the interests of non-financial stakeholders while making decisions. There are GRI G4 reporting guidelines in place, that provide guidance on how to report on sustainability, pointing out that stakeholder engagement is crucial for identifying the material issues to include in a report. However, sometimes companies do not follow the guidelines at all, or the stakeholder dialogue is just nominal, resulting in artificially constructed win-win situation. This master thesis is inspired by Habermas ideal speech situation. When steering mechanisms (legislature, business practices) are in place, it creates a society that is willing to voice its opinion or show discontent with actions of an organization. However, when a situation close to this is achieved, a new issue arises – conflicting interests of stakeholders. As suggested by Habermas’ discourse ethics mechanism, the best decision is the one when the sum of negative consequences for stakeholders in minimized. In order to achieve that, all relevant stakeholders need to join the debate. In addition, the debate need to keep in mind the stakeholders who can potentially be affected, but can’t joint the debate (because they are from future generations, or nature). In this thesis the case of Schiphol airport is considered to illustrate how an organization manages the engagement with stakeholders when the interests are conflicting.