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Stakeholder For Staples

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Stakeholders are individuals and constituencies that contribute, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to its wealth-creating capacity and activities, and who are therefore its potential beneficiaries and/or risk bearers1. There are several different types of stakeholders associated with a corporation, and those stakeholders can have different views and opinions on what corporation's goals should be and how they should be running. I have interviewed three different stakeholders of Staples Inc., an employee, a customer and a stock holder, to find their relationship between them and the firm. Then, I will use this information to suggest how the firm should proceed and continue to have a better and more beneficial relationship with its stakeholders.

The Corporation

Staples Inc. is the largest retail office supply chain which operates world wide with almost 2000 stores operating in over 10 countries and several more via catalog and delivery order1. Staples offers supplies, office machines, furniture, technology and other business services such as their copy center2. Aside from providing services and products to meet the needs of stakeholders such as the employees, investors and customers, of the corporation, Staples offers a program called Staples' Soul. This program was instituted in order to meet the concerns of all the other stakeholders such as local communities, the government, private organizations, and regulatory authorities. To do so they seek environmental excellence by offering environmentally preferable products and educating stakeholders about environmental issues, they also work for the community through their alliance with the U.S. and international charitable organizations, cause marketing initiatives and finally by striving to be a model of ethical business practices and share their values with their suppliers3.


When looking through the interviews which I had with the stakeholders I found some interesting results. I had received almost a 100% correlation between the answers of the employee and the customer, while the stockholder had always voiced a different view. By studying these correlations it is possible to identify problems the corporation has with its stakeholders if any.

One of the questions asked was if the stakeholders if they had any issues or problems with Staples. Licinio Esteves, the stakeholder, had no issues with them. However, Lisze Lam, the customer, and Patrick Forgione, the employee, had both voiced concerns. Ms. Lam had an issue with their customer service, while Mr. Forgione had an issue with Staples' management. Although it seems like there is no direct correlation to Mr. Forgione's problem and Ms. Lam's there happens to be one. Ms. Lam finds customer service to be frustrating, While Mr. Forgione more specifically raises the issue that, "management needs to treat employee's better and schedule enough associates during the open hours because a minimal staff can hardly operate efficiently5." A minimally staffed store cannot operate efficiently, nor would it be able to service its customers properly. According to the article "Managing the extended Enterprise: The New Stakeholder View" an employees role is to precipitate collaboration in the workplace, while a customer has an impact on its brand loyalty and repeat purchases. So this would point to a problem on the corporation's part of not meeting the concerns of its employees, which in turn creates the problem of it not satisfying the needs of its customers. Although Staples has instituted the Staples' Soul program in order to meet the needs of all its other stakeholders it is beginning to show that they have not met the needs of their Resource Based stakeholders. The resource base is a part of the stake holder view model presented in "Managing the Extended Enterprise" which includes the employees, customers and investors. It appears that the investors are happy because the stocks go up due to inclusion of the Staples' Soul program, however their efforts to satisfy all the other stakeholders has caused neglect upon the customers and the employee stakeholders.

Another question was whether or not they thought that the Staples' Soul program was a good idea or not. Again the customer and the employee had agreed that it was a good idea, but it was not important to them. In fact Ms. Lam had stated that "I don't really mind. Although I think that they should work on their customer relations a little more." Mr. Esteves, the stockholder, found this program important due to the fact that since it was instituted the stocks of Staples Inc. have been going up. Although all three agree it is not a bad idea, Ms. Lam and Mr. Forgione do not find this type of program important to them at all. The fact that they do not find this program of no importance is because it has absolutely no affect on the customer or the employee stakeholders. The benefits of this program do not directly impact a majority of its employees or its customers. It appears that the relationship between Staples and its employee and customer stakeholders is a straight give take relationship, through the perspective of the stakeholders. Ms. Lam, in answering about what type of relationship she had with Staples said, "I need supplies, they need money. They take my money, I take their supplies." While Mr. Forgione stated, "The only thing Staples has done for me is provide me with a paycheck every week and some benefits."

Next, I asked all three stakeholders to order which stakeholders they thought held the most priority in Staples perspective from highest to lowest. It was interesting to find that out of the six choices Ms. Lam and Mr. Forgione had ordered four of them identically. Both had placed customers first, stockholders second, local communities and citizens fourth, and associates last. On the other hand Mr. Esteves had completely different answers than both aside from placing local communities and citizens at fourth. I find it interesting that Ms. Lam and Mr. Forgione had such similar views about Staples priorities in its stakeholders. From the fact that Ms. Lam did not place customers lower than the most important and its associates last I believe that she may have an idea that perhaps the Staples associates are not able to perform to their most efficient nature due to a possible neglect on the corporation's part. Mr. Forgione's noting that associates are placed last as a priority to the corporation correlates with his previous answers and concerns. The next interesting fact is that both had placed stock holders as second most important, which shows that both believe



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