Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 221–232 | Cite as

A Network Perspective on Stakeholder Management: Facilitating Entrepreneurs in the Discovery of Opportunities

  • Wim Vandekerckhove
  • Nikolay A. Dentchev


The problem of opportunity discovery is at the heart of entrepreneurial activity. Cognitive limitations determine the search for and the analysis of information and, as a consequence, constrain the identification of opportunities. Moreover, typical personal characteristics – locus of control, need for independence and need for achievement – suggest that entrepreneurs will tend to take a central position in their stakeholder environments and thus fail to adapt to the complexity of stakeholder relationships in their entrepreneurial activity. We approach this problem by adopting a network perspective on stakeholder management. We propose a heuristic approach of stakeholder analysis, which requires two mappings of the entrepreneurial constituents. The first mapping focuses on current interactions between the entrepreneur and their stakeholders, while the second focuses on a specific issue and the stakeholders that constitute it. In effect, such a stakeholder analysis requires entrepreneurs to use the complexity of stakeholder relationships in order to go beyond their cognitive limitations and thus facilitate the discovery of new opportunities. As we will argue, this has clear implications for the ethics and activities of entrepreneurs.


business ethics entrepreneurship network perspective opportunity identification stakeholder management 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ghent universityghentBelgium
  2. 2.Ghent UniversityghentBelgium

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