Emerging Possibilities: Adapting Carol Sanford's Stakeholder PENTAD for the Nonprofit and Public Sectors

Kathleen Gibbons, Marty Jacobs


The nonprofit and public sectors are constantly challenged to create greater impact with fewer and fewer resources. The recession of 2008 has resulted in less funding for both sectors and increased demand for their programs and services, pushing many organizations to the brink. With the likelihood of change in the current state slim, nonprofits and public agencies are eager for new approaches that will enable them to create greater value from existing resources in a socially responsible manner. This paper introduces one possible tool, which was adapted from Carol Sanford’s stakeholder pentad introduced in her book, The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability and Success. Sanford’s pentad is intended to shift a business’s focus away from measuring success based purely on financial returns to one of a quintuple bottom line centered on developing relationships with the following five sets of stakeholders: customers, co-creators, earth, community, and investors.


Carol Sanford, stakeholders, stakeholder engagement, nonprofit sector, public sector, living systems, sustainability, resilience, cultural evolution, strategic direction, capacity building, work redesign, critical systemic thinking,

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