Stakeholders: a source of competitive advantage? An analysis of the influence of stakeholders on the strategies of independent, rural, Scottish museums during their organisational life cycle.
Halcro, K. (2008) Stakeholders: a source of competitive advantage? An analysis of the influence of stakeholders on the strategies of independent, rural, Scottish museums during their organisational life cycle., no. 509.
Data indicates that Scottish museum attendance is rising annually, yet anecdotal comments appear to contradict this evidence. Explanations for this dichotomy are inevitably complex and varied, but variations in organisational performance have been explained by the Resource-Based View, which argues an organisation's competitive advantage stems from its ability to access and use resources. This perspective is examined through the concept of stakeholder theory. This thesis investigates the influence stakeholders have on independent, rural Scottish museums during the organisational life cycle, and whether this is a source of competitive advantage. The research involved an exploratory survey to scope the characteristics and environment in which Scotland's museums were operating, but also a typology for further research. The outcome was to adopt a phenomenological approach to investigate fourteen independent, rural, museums strategies during the organisational life cycle, drawing on stakeholder models proposed by Mitchell, Agle & Wood (1997) and Jawahar & McLaughlin (2001). This process involved interviewing 141 stakeholders to discuss their experiences in shaping these museums' strategies. Using narrative analysis, it emerged that these museums' strategies were influenced by different stakeholders during the organisational life cycle and this is reflected in a model developed from these findings. Growth museums were characterised by either an entrepreneurial leader or a board of trustees working in collaboration with key paid staff to access resources, particularly funding. By contrast, mature stage museums were dominated by a definitive stakeholder centred on a group of trustees who also occupied other stakeholder groups, notably volunteers and the community. This definitive stakeholder provided these museums with many of their resources, which proved to be an organisational strength, but also a weakness. The museum in decline and which ceased trading during this study, closed as a result of losing the definitive stakeholder's confidence and withdrawing funding. It was evident that stakeholders did influence museum strategy, but the definitive stakeholder explained a museum's competitive advantage