How Smokers Became Outlaws: An Application Of The Stakeholder Salience Model To A Social Problem

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Susan K. Key
Rosalia N. Scripa
Robert Juneau


Stakeholders, Stakeholder Salience, Smokers, Nonsmokers


Smoking bans have gone from being essentially non-existent to being the norm over the course of the last 50 years. When some of these authors started teaching, it was the norm to smoke in the classroom, in hospitals, on airplanes, in prison and in the office. Times have changedsmoking is no longer allowed in these locations in the United States. In this paper, an overview of the history of smoking advocacy, the impacts of smoke-free legislation on different stakeholders, and changes in public perceptions of smoking are provided. Mitchell and Agles 1997 Stakeholder Salience Model are used to illustrate the changes over time in stakeholder status for both smokers and nonsmokers. The Mitchell Model could have been useful to predict the change in status that the two stakeholder groups experienced and the authors suggest that management should note the emergence of urgent stakeholders in the future, as they may gain salience in other matters that can impact company wealth. Firms have to be aware of both their customers needs (smokers) as well as other social movements that may affect the use of their product, such as nonsmoking legislation. This is the first paper to apply stakeholder salience, including the concepts of urgency, power, and legitimacy, to the changing fortunes of smokers. It looks at how smoking and smokers have gone from the norm in U.S. society to outlaw status.


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