What is it about?

The article intertwines two relevant theories: The Stakeholder Theory, applicable in the universe of organizational strategy, and the Actor-Network Theory, from sociology. The idea is to analyze the following categories: actors and stakeholders. Furthermore, from the actor-network theory, one can discuss the agency exerted by objects. In order to carry out this analysis, the article uses energy transitions towards sustainability as a background.

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Why is it important?

The idea of sustainable development emphasizes the need to address economic, social, and environmental factors to uphold the demands of future generations. The mainstream still ignores the crucial role of multiple actors in defining transition paths. A technocratic point of view emerges when approaching energy transitions. Transition studies sometimes disregard the role and agency of actors and the ambiguity in referring to them. Stakeholder Theory, associated with Actor-Network Theory (ANT), could explore the relationship among multiple actors in the context of sociotechnical transitions towards sustainability in the energy sector.


The article opens a significant discussion within the applied social sciences. From a practical point of view, it is necessary to understand how the relationships between humans and objects can affect managerial and political decisions. These relationships are relevant for defining transition paths. Not every actor will be a stakeholder, and not every stakeholder maintains this condition. The researcher must be aware of the social aggregates and interests at stake.

Gabriela Marcon
Universidade do Vale do Itajai

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Stakeholder theory and actor‐network theory: The stakeholder engagement in energy transitions, Business Strategy and the Environment, June 2022, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/bse.3168.
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