School of Management
Royal Holloway University of London

The Centre for Research into Sustainability

The Dialogical Potential of Stakeholder Engagement: The Case of TNT

Project Description

There is an absence of direct, in-depth, contextually grounded empirical work examining the accountability potential and complexities within recent stakeholder engagement practice. Thomson and Bebbington (2005, pp. 526-527) argue that more systematic, focused and sustained  empirical investigations of stakeholder engagement processes and the nature of the narratives emerging from them are needed to help enhance our understanding of these processes and enable a fuller evaluation of their accountability potential.

This project examines the possibilities for stakeholder accountability embedded in the initial stakeholder engagement practices of a recognized world leader in the field, TNT. This is undertaken by conducting an examination of the extent to which TNT’s initial attempts at stakeholder engagement embrace the dialogical ideals for these processes suggested by Thomson and Bebbington (2005).

Expected Outcomes


Case study drawing on a series of in-depth interviews with: a selection of key TNT executives; consultants advising TNT on their initial stakeholder engagement process; and stakeholder representatives. Detailed examinations of a raft of confidential internal company documentation highlighting, inter alia, key stakeholder engagements, consultants’ reports on engagements and implementation plans are also undertaken.


Brendan O'Dwyer (Professor of Accounting at the University of Amsterdam)