Governing the void between stakeholder management and sustainability
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© 2018 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.In this chapter, we explain why firms selectively responding to the most powerful, legitimate, and urgent demands of their stakeholders will not bring about sustainability and offer suggestions on what we should do in light of this shortcoming. Sustainability issues tend to be wicked problems that require cooperation across parties and over time to define and resolve. Stakeholder pressures can bring sustainability to the fore, but government intervention is necessary to drive meaningful action to resolve such issues. Without government intervention, self-interested stakeholders can pressure firms to move away from the complex, long-term challenges of wicked problems. Yet, stakeholder pressure is also necessary, as without it, industries may self-regulate in self-serving ways. Our analysis thus suggests that collaboration between business, government, and other stakeholders is necessary to resolve the wicked problems of sustainability. We therefore urge the stakeholder literature to move beyond its libertarian underpinnings by (re)incorporating government into models of effective corporate governance.