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Stakeholder Engagement For Responsible Innovation In The Private Sector: Critical Issues And Management Practices

V. Blok, L. Hoffmans, E.F.M. Wubben

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Although both EU policy makers and researchers acknowledge that public or stakeholder engagement is important for responsible innovation (RI), empirical evidence in this field is still scarce. In this article, we explore to what extent companies with a disposition to innovate in a more responsible way are moving towards the ideal of mutual responsiveness among stakeholders, as it is presented in the RI literature. Based on interviews with companies and non-economic stakeholders in the Dutch Food industry, it can be concluded that innovative food companies are still far from implementing the ideal of mutual responsiveness in a significant way. The tension between the call for the active involvement of stakeholders in the literature and actual stakeholder engagement practices is explained by identifying a number of critical issues regarding stakeholder engagement, which are specific to actors involved in RI in the private sector. Finally, management practices designed to deal with these critical issues regarding stakeholder engagement are identified.