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Lite J. Nartey
University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School
Networks of influence: Implementing politically sustainable multinational stakeholder strategies

I am pursuing my PhD in Management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania under the guidance of Witold Henisz, and expect to complete my dissertation in May 2011. My research interests are broadly: to investigate the interrelationships, contingencies, and power dynamics among actors at the nexus of the business, government and civil society arenas; to explore the broader impacts of these diverse interactions on firm performance and societal value; and to identify means for win-win outcomes for both firms and their stakeholders. My dissertation explores strategies firms can use to improve relations with stakeholders and thus engender stakeholder support using network theory. I hold a Masters in Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from the Wagner School, New York University, and a BSc. (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Science and Technology in Ghana. I have also worked with international NGOs and development agencies.

Networks of influence: Implementing politically sustainable multinational stakeholder strategies

Multinational firms often struggle to gain and sustain the cooperation of stakeholders for their overseas operations. Drawing from network theory, I develop propositions regarding three drivers of change in relations between stakeholders and firms through the structure of network ties linking them. First, network ties serve as prisms that enable third parties to cognitively ascribe characteristics of known stakeholders to an unknown firm with whom that known stakeholder associates, thus "who" the firm associates with impacts subsequent cooperation. As the content of a network tie also impacts stakeholder perceptions, deeper collaboration with stakeholders engenders cooperation. Second, as ties convey information about actors in the network, ties to stakeholders that maximize the volume, diversity and richness of information afforded the firm engender cooperation. And third, the evolution of stakeholder relations with the foreign firm should take into account sub-network properties of transitivity and differential power.

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