Ethical tension in working with stakeholders

Kubacki, K.; Szablewska, N. and Siemieniako, D. (2021). Ethical tension in working with stakeholders. In: Knox, K.; Kubacki, K. and Rundle-Thiele, S. eds. Stakeholder Involvement in Social Marketing: Challenges and Approaches to Engagement. Routledge, pp. 25–38.



This chapter presents a debate about the ethical tension and conflict that can arise from working with multiple and diverse stakeholders in the context of social marketing. The practice of social marketing has always involved some degree of collaboration between social marketers and a range of different stakeholders. Stakeholder interactions include building relationships with funding agencies to gather the resources needed to support social marketing programmes, working with advertising and other related agencies to develop marketing communications strategies and materials, and engaging with target audiences to understand their needs and implement citizen-centric behaviour change strategies. Responsibilities and objectives for all stakeholders need to be identified, and processes need to be established to enforce appropriate accountabilities by regulating agencies. The chapter reviews McHugh, Domegan, and Duane’s understanding of a social marketing system as “a multiplicity of people and stakeholder groups interacting to create patterns of behaviours, choices, and values over time in a dynamic macro–micro context”.

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