Engaging Fringe Stakeholders in Business and Society Research: Applying Visual Participatory Research Methods

Lauren McCarthy, Judy Muthuri

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Business and society (B&S) researchers, as well as practitioners, have been critiqued for ignoring those with less voice and power (e.g., women, non-literate, or indigenous peoples) often referred to as “fringe stakeholders.” Existing methods used in B&S research often fail to address issues of meaningful participation, voice and power, especially in developing countries. In this article, we stress the utility of visual participatory research (VPR) methods in B&S research to fill this gap. Through a case study on engaging Ghanaian cocoa farmers on gender inequality issues, we explore how VPR methods may be used by researchers to achieve more inclusive, and thus more credible, stakeholder research that can improve decision making within businesses. Furthermore, we argue that ingrained social and environmental problems tackled by B&S research and the unique context in which they occur may open up new opportunities to develop participatory visual methods for social change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-173
Number of pages43
JournalBusiness and Society
Issue number1
Early online date27 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • participatory action research
  • Visual Methods
  • CSR
  • sustainability
  • Research Design
  • gender
  • Stakeholder Engagement

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