Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. V. Kumar

Second Advisor

Dr. Alok R. Saboo

Third Advisor

Dr. Nita Umashankar

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Amalesh Sharma


From the resource-based view of the firm, good stakeholder relations provide sustainable competitive advantages. To manage their scarce resources effectively, firms should understand how (1) multiple stakeholder relations influence firm performance separately and jointly through brand equity over time and (2) stakeholder relations interact with firms’ strategic emphasis – a relative emphasis by which firms decide to allocate their resources toward value creation or appropriation. Using a sample of 165 North American firms during 2009-2015, the authors apply a hierarchical linear model (HLM) approach to measure the time-varying effects of multiple stakeholder relationships on firm performance. Following the classification of stakeholders in the literature, the authors subdivide multiple stakeholders into two categories: primary stakeholders that are essential for business operations and secondary stakeholders that are not essential for the survival of the firm. The results show the existence of individual time-varying effects of primary and secondary stakeholder relations on brand equity, as well as a time-varying synergistic effect. The authors find a slightly higher, but statistically insignificant, positive effect of primary stakeholder relations on brand equity than of secondary stakeholder relations. In addition, the authors find that when firms focus more on value creation, the effect of primary stakeholder relations on brand equity is stronger than is the effect of secondary stakeholder relations and vice versa. Brand equity is found to fully mediate the effect of relations with each group of stakeholders on long-term firm performance and to partially mediate the synergistic effect between primary and secondary stakeholders on long-term firm performance. These findings offer insights for managers to make strategic decisions about effectively and efficiently managing stakeholder relations considering their time-varying effects.