Practically in every enterprise the stakeholders form a very complex system of relationships that needs to be well understood to properly implement lean principles and practices. Traditional stakeholders include customers (in their multiple forms of end users, acquirers, and/or distributors), owners (capitalists, shareholders, and corporations), suppliers (first-tier, second-tier, etc.), and employee groups (unions, minority groups, managers, blue collars, etc.) However, the list does not end there; many other secondary stakeholders may, at some point or another, acquire relevance and enhance or even interfere with an enterprise’s value creation process. Consider, for example, the pressures of environmentalist groups over the nuclear power industry. The nuclear industry was developing at a regular and strong pace until the accidents first of Three Mile Island in the US in 1979 and later of Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union in 1986.2 Environmentalist groups, acting as legitimate stakeholders since then, have used those two unfortunate examples as a claim to stop any further nuclear activity at many different local, national, and international forums. The effects of those pressures on the nuclear industry have been devastating. Not a single power plant has been ordered in the US since the Three Mile Island accident.
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