Disclosure as a tool in stakeholder relations management : a longitudinal study on the port of Rotterdam
Institute for Transport en Maritime Management (ITMMA)
International journal of logistics : research & applications. - Abingdon
, p. 228-250
University of Antwerp
This study applies stakeholder management principles to the port domain. We provide a conceptual framework for evaluating the communication strategies a (landlord) Port Authority (PA) relies on in the management of its relevant stakeholders and the adoption of disclosure to critical issues. The theoretical arguments are supported by empirical evidences from the Port of Rotterdam (PoR), i.e. a major port which leverages disclosure to successfully manage stakeholders and support the implementation of corporate strategy. The research questions are addressed using a content analysis on the annual reports (ARs) of PoR in the period 20002012. The overall research design enables the investigation of PA disclosure as a tool for managing the evolving interests of stakeholders from a longitudinal perspective. The PoR case shows that the relative importance of topics reported in the ARs change over time, as a result of external pressures and internal key events. The outcomes demonstrate the growing attention of PoR on topics relevant to the broader community (e.g. environment and safety/security) after a period characterised by a prominent focus on financial and governance issues. Besides, key breakthrough forces stimulating the shifts in landlord communication strategies are identified and discussed. Finally, by suggesting an indirect approach to evaluate how PA prioritises its salient stakeholders, the paper adds to extant port literature and brings methodological implications.