Analysis of power, legitimacy and urgency      in the flow of information supporting sustainability-...
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Analysis of power, legitimacy and urgency in the flow of information supporting sustainability-related decisions Namy Espinosa-Orias and Paul N. Sharratt The University of Manchester England.

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Analysis of power, legitimacy and urgency in the flow of information supporting sustainability-related decisions

Namy Espinosa-Orias and Paul N. Sharratt

The University of Manchester


1. Initial remarks2. Stakeholder theory3. The decision-making (DM) process4. Attribute analysis in the DM process5. Case study6. Conclusions

Outline of the presentation

1.Initial remarks

  • Sustainability is the goal of the anthropocentric environmental system.

  • Sustainable Development has been chosen to attain sustainability.

  • Stakeholders constitute a network around the lifecycle of a product, service or activity.

  • Information flows across the network.


Identify and interpret the link between:

a) the flow of information and

b) the exhibition and perception of attributes

in the decision-making process in the context of sustainability.

2. Stakeholder Theory

  • Stakeholder Theory pertains to the area of strategic management.

  • It aims to describe and predict organizational behaviour in terms of the relations of an organization with its stakeholders.

  • Stakeholder theory can be applied to the life-cycle of a product and its stakeholders’ network.

Stakes and stakeholders

  • A stake can be abstract or concrete; subjective or material; unique, periodic or permanent.

  • Stakes are the main drivers of the relations between stakeholders.

  • A stakeholder is capable of taking action in accordance to a set of values, beliefs, culture and Weltanschauung.

Attributes of stakes and stakeholders

  • Attributes are dynamic and context-dependent.

  • The valuation of attributes is a social construct subject to multiple Weltanschauungen.

Legitimacy of stakes

Stakes are legitimate if they are in accordance to

socially accepted entities

Power exhibited by stakeholders

Stakeholders exhibit power through their ability to influence or produce change, objectives, outcomes and processes.

Urgency of stake-stakeholder pairing

The urgency of a stake-stakeholder pairing is reflected in the ability to attract attention

3. The decision-making process





Process owner


Unchanged information


Environmental information



3. The decision-making process







Process owner




4. Analysis of attributes

  • Define the decision setting and the objectives being pursued.

  • Assign the roles in the DM process to stakeholders of the product network.

  • Identify the message carried in each flow of information.

  • Recognize the stakes of concern to each flow of information.

4. Analysis of attributes

  • The decision maker asserts whether she perceives the existence or non-existence of attributes for:

    a) Stakes

    b) Stakeholders

    c) Stake-stakeholder pairings

  • Consider the possible conditions or circumstances leading either to the maintenance or change in the perception of the attributes.

Impact of salience on the DM process

  • Change in the DM’s perception of attributes due to influence.

  • Adjustment of criteria weights.

  • Change in the relation between the decision maker and the stakeholders.

  • Changes or overlaps in the information flows or the roles of stakeholders.

  • Operations to the flows of information.

5.Case study


To purchase a specific Fairtrade coffee product

Decision setting









Stakes and stakeholders

Roles of stakeholders and information flow

Outcomes of the DM process


  • Information flows are influenced by stakes and by stakeholders performing operations on them.

  • The decision to buy ethical products has been analyzed using the attribute analysis technique.

  • The outcomes of the attribute analysis informs the decision-making process.


  • It is possible to identify hot-spots, communication problems and information gaps in a product network.

  • The impact and influence of power, legitimacy and urgency on a process can be assessed in terms of subjective perception.

  • A better understanding on the behaviour and workings of a product network can be gained.

Thanks for your attention

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