March 19, 2005


A Stakeholder Web (“S-web”) is a network of stakeholders that scrutinizes and attempts to influence an entity’s behavior.  See Note 7 for additional background.




Small Core Group/Steering Committee (Yahoo Group, dialogue, CCOPP ‘stewards’)

Larger Core Working Group (Yahoo Group, dialogue, directly active participants prepared to make an investment of time, skills and resources in the overall CCOPP, following Culture of Peace and Non-violence values; ref. http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/CCOPPcore ) (Announcements will be placed in the CCOPP Newsletter)

CCOPP Newsletter (Broadcast) (Yahoo Group, broadcast) (Newsletters will automatically be posted to all Groups, and anyone who wishes to subscribe; expect one or two per month)

CCOPP Dialogue – General (Yahoo Group, dialogue, inclusive)


B. CULTURE OF PEACE AND NON-VIOLENCE ACTION AREAS (the sub-components are derived from the Agenda of the Hague Appeal for Peace, reference http://www.peace.ca/agendaofthehague.htm , are not necessarily all-inclusive, and will evolve over time)



·        Provincial/Territorial Culture of Peace Programs (13) (mirroring above where relevant) (13 Yahoo Groups, dialogue, inclusive)

o       Alberta http://groups.yahoo.com/group/albertapeaceeducation/

o       Quebec http://groups.yahoo.com/group/quebecpeaceeducation/ 

o       Manitoba http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ManitobaPeaceEducation/ 



1. Total of 12 National + 13 Provincial/Territorial = 25 Groups.  Invitations to be sent to organizations and individuals identified as key stakeholders, and an open invitation to anyone interested.  We will seek a ‘moderator’ (more of a facilitator and catalyst) for each Group.  Members will be able to choose between individual emails, daily digest, and no email (with ability to access archives).  Unless there is a better suggestion, participants will be able to use whichever official language they wish, and it will be up to recipients to translate, if necessary.

2. “The Mission of the Canadian Culture of Peace Program is to advance a Culture of Peace and Non-violence at home and abroad.”   We are Agents of Change – catalysts - to establish a link between those like-minded people to synergize around the United Nations Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World activities, working to change behaviors, forge values and incite institutional transformations to advance a Culture of Peace and Non-violence at home and abroad.  Note that our mandate is not 'legislated' - we have embraced our responsibility to help build a better world for future generations.  Our contribution is volunteered in the spirit of community service, to the Canadian community, accountable to the Canadian people. 

3. An institution is a gathering of persons who have accepted a common purpose, and a common discipline to guide the pursuit of that purpose, to the end that each involved person reaches higher fulfillment as a person, through serving and being served by the common venture, than would be achieved alone or in a less committed relationship.” Robert Greenleaf.   In the Initial CCOPP Action Plan (reference http://www.peace.ca/CCOPPaction2004.htm ), a Governance Style has been identified in the spirit of ‘Servant Leadership’ (ref. http://www.peace.ca/servantleadership.htm ).  This is to be further refined in a ‘Governance, Leadership and the Canadian Culture of Peace Program Workshop’ in the near future.

4. It is the intention for this Organizational Network to be as non-hierarchical as possible.  Visualize a spider web or Internet web metaphor (Diagram 1).  Everyone with interest is invited to participate as equals.  

(Diagram 1 -
– Organization Network Chart: Thinking Outside the Box and Traditional Hierarchy)

5. It is expected that participants of the Canadian Culture of Peace Program would join the over 60,000,000 other signatories world-wide and pledge to follow the six key points of Manifesto 2000 for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence (ref. http://www3.unesco.org/manifesto2000/uk/uk_6points.htm ):

Because the year 2000 must be a new beginning, an opportunity to transform - all together - the culture of war and violence into a culture of peace and non-violence.

Because this transformation demands the participation of each and every one of us, and must offer young people and future generations the values that can inspire them to shape a world based on justice, solidarity, liberty, dignity, harmony and prosperity for all.

Because the culture of peace can underpin sustainable development, environmental protection and the well-being of each person.

Because I am aware of my share of responsibility for the future of humanity, in particular to the children of today and tomorrow.

I pledge in my daily life, in my family, my work, my community, my country and my region, to:

Signature and date

6. Every person and organization in Canada is invited to participate in the Canadian Culture of Peace Program, sign the pledge, and join one or more of the above Groups.  You are also invited to submit your profile information following Yahoo format as follows:

Yahoo! ID: [contact email]
Real Name: [contact person]
Location: [municipality]
Age:  No Answer expected
Marital Status: No Answer expected
Gender: No Answer expected
Occupation: [very brief description of work]
· Home Page:  [for more information]

7. A Stakeholder Web (“S-web”) is a network of stakeholders that scrutinizes and attempts to influence an entity’s behavior.  In this case, the “entity” is Canada ’s Culture of Peace.  Recently, many have studied these networks and given them different names including transparency networks, corporate responsibility clusters, network armies, and smart mobs.  But as business critic Amy Cortese says, “Whatever you choose to call them, these forces are products of the Internet Age, united not by geography but by common cause and technology that lets them communicate freely and instantly.”

A key characteristic of many S-webs is self-organization.  Self-organizing systems, such as the open source movement that produced Linux, are fundamentally different from – often subversive of – traditional hierarchical organizations.  They display “intentional emergence”, whereby strong patterns emerge from complex, initially random systems, through the application of a few simple rules.  Emergence has captured the imagination of scientists, researchers, and analysts in many disciplines including biology, mathematics, and economics.  Unlike most naturally occurring emergent systems, humans apply intentionality in many of their emergent systems.  They make deliberate choices, on the basis of their ideas, goals, and desires.  Nonetheless the cumulative effect is self-organized rather than orchestrated.

Stakeholder webs actively investigate, evaluate, and seek to change the behaviors of institutions (such as corporations, governments, educational institutions, religious organizations, NGOs, etc.) to achieve better alignment with the values and interests of their participants.

Seven Characteristics of Stakeholder Webs:

1. The Embodiment of Transparency – Transparency is not an amorphous, disembodied force.  Its tangible expression, the S-web, realizes the ability of stakeholders to find out information, inform others, and self-organize.  S-web participants connect via interactive media like the Internet, email, the telephone, instant messaging, fax, and face-to-face communications.  They also use traditional print, radio, and television mass media.  The transparency increases the power and influence of S-webs.  S-web structures and behaviors – made possible by the Internet – very much resemble it.  A S-web works very differently from a typical top-down company or business web.  Its modus operandi is peer collaboration rather than hierarchical control.  Like the Internet’s, an S-web’s structure is highly distributed.  A S-web is highly adaptive: it can spring into action quickly and fade just as fast.  Instead of spending energy trying to tear down obstacles, it routes itself around them.  Ironically, there is often considerable opacity within a S-web, as various participants may not be fully aware of who the other members are. 

2. Varying Participant Motives and Roles – S-web players can be motivated for a variety of reasons.  Religious groups use moral principles to examine and change corporate behavior.  Some players, such as employees who organize to change a company’s pension policy or shareholders who try to force a company to adopt good governance, are motivated by self-interest.  Some have an ideological motivation, ranging from a desire for better corporate citizenship to a desire to weaken corporations and end corporate power.  Some may turn out to be agents of competitors.  Government regulators are mandated to uphold the law.  Participants also play different roles.  Some S-web participants act as leaders, coordinating the rules and activities of others.  Some play the role of content provider, researching and communicating critical information to other members.  Greenpeace provided intelligence to the Rainforest Action network about Home Depot’s old-growth-forest logging.  Some play other roles – linking to the corporation, amplifying and relaying communications to other network participants, conducting litigation, proposing shareholder resolutions, and so on.  Malcolm Gladwell describes three kinds of people (the same model could also be applied to organizations) who play special roles in mobilizing human networks: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen.  Connectors know lots of other well-connected, influential people; they also have a special gift for bringing the world together.  Mavens are obsessive experts in a narrow field; they love to share their knowledge, and other people trust their advice.  The third type of mobilizer is the Salesman, a person with an infectious – sometime subliminal – ability to persuade.  Given the right situation and an effective mix of such special people, an S-web becomes an unstoppable force.

3. Changing Dynamics – S-webs can be relatively inactive, quiet, benign, reflective, small, stable, and slow moving.  Or they can be intensely active, huge, volatile, and powerful.  Several dynamics are at work:

·        An S-web can move from one state to another – inactive to active, small to large, cooperative to hostile – almost instantaneously.

·        Network effects come into play.  A bigger network is exponentially more valuable to participants and impactful on its target.

·        In S-webs, transparency works a bit like osmosis.  Says researcher Anthony Williams, in networks like these, “Information flows freely from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration where it disseminates rapidly across space and time.”

·        Rumors travel fast, but validation can be swift as well.  Sophisticated S-webs have good nonsense detectors, because misinformation, especially when initiated by members, can hurt the network.

·        Local networks can become global fast, as digital information does not respect boundaries.

·        The S-web has a marvelous quality – persistence – based on its ability to archive.  Information that was placed in it years ago can still be available today, ready for reuse.  Similarly, linkages among S-web participants may lie dormant for a time, ready to be reactivated when needed.

4. Variable Corporate Engagement – Entities (such as corporations, governments, etc.) have various levels of engagement with their S-webs.  A company may not even be aware that it is operating under the scrutiny of an S-web.  Other entities systematically engage their S-webs: to learn, influence them, or harness their power to help build a better business.  Engagement pays off.  When activity in the S-web is high while engagement is low, entities (companies, governments, etc.) can be drawn into a trust crisis.  Unengaged activity has a centrifugal effect, where the S-web migrates away from the entity and can become alienated from the entity, its values, and its activities.  Conversely, lack of engagement robs an entity (corporation, government, etc.) of the opportunity to evolve and strengthen its values to be consistent with those of its stakeholders.  For both parties, lack of engagement undermines the quest for commonly shared values, in turn generating mistrust.

5. Big Trouble: Trust Crisis – Gladwell’s concept of the tipping point is an apt description of what happens when a small event suddenly turns a stakeholder web, with the force of an epidemic, from an amorphous collection of stakeholders into an uncontrollable trust crisis.  New information or events can suddenly precipitate a trust crisis.  The generalized trust crisis of 2002 was precipitated by several companies that disappeared almost overnight.  Trust destroyed, society revoked their license to operate.

6. A Company’s Response to a Trust Crisis: Effect on Its Future and Its Viability – Entities (corporations, governments, etc.) have shown two diametrically opposed methods of dealing with a trust crisis.  One is to use conventional public relations tactics to quell it.  The other is to engage the S-web in active discussions and processes to resolve issues.  The traditional approach uses advertising, PR campaigns, spin, misinformation, criticizing the critics, spoofing (posing as an S-web member and providing phony information), pitting one group against the other, and other dirty tricks.  Such approaches usually have the opposite to the desired effect.  They tend to inflame activity in the S-web – an attack is fodder for increased communications – as participants inform others, rebut or reply to the attack, and reorganize themselves.  The S-web is an organism whose antibodies gain strength by combating intruders.  Engagement is a far more effective philosophy and approach.  A corporate spirit of open communications, listening, consideration of participants’ interests, admission of wrongdoing if appropriate, consultation, commitment to change, abiding by commitments, accountability, and transparency – all have the effect of reducing crisis activity and restoring trust.

7. A Powerful Force for Transformation – S-webs existed in pre-Internet days.  But their speed of communications and therefore effectiveness was glacial.   The Net supercharges an S-web, enabling it to quickly become a powerful, often global force for change.  Because engagement is the only effective way to deal with crisis, S-webs change the behavior of corporations, governments, educational institutions, religious organizations, NGOs, etc.  The firm engages, information begins to flow back and forth, both parties learn, and behavior changes.  Engagement creates new feedback loops which constrain or help correct unacceptable behaviors, while encouraging new values and behaviors that conform to the expectations of the network.  Anthony Williams says, “When information disclosed to the public reveals inconsistencies between the conduct of corporations and acceptable standards of behavior, network participants put new forms of accountability into motion.”  As we shall see, S-webs, by motivating entities to be accountable, reward them for being trustworthy.  We live in an era in which stakeholder webs supersede government’s ability to influence some behaviors of the private sector and market.  Ever since the South African boycotts hastened the end of apartheid, activists have been perfecting this new kind of market campaign.  Now the Internet enables stakeholders to construct far flung networks influence corporate behavior by attacking corporate brands and mobilizing public opinion.  Any entity (company, government, etc.) with a reputation and brand to protect is vulnerable.  Even firms that are isolated from consumers can be made to acquiesce, usually by targeting the firm’s partners at the retail end of the supply chain. 

When we explain the notion of S-webs to executives, some react with concern, even fear.  Memo to leaders: S-webs are good for you.  They will help you be trustworthy.  Engage with them, learn and build trust.  Trust is the sine qua non for viability and performance in the new environment, and S-webs are a new force for success and value.  In summary, there are real limits to transparency, and forces mobilized in favor of opacity.  The experience of emerging economies and of the United States clearly shows that opacity breeds corruption, market failures, and poor underlying business and social conditions.  Stakeholder webs are an unstoppable force for a new glasnost in business and capitalist society.  The train has left the station.  Nevertheless, as we’ve seen, battles around openness rage on.

[Note 7 on Stakeholder Webs is adapted from the book The Naked Corporation: How the Age of Transparency Will Revolutionize Business, by Don Tapscott and David Ticoll. Pages 53 – 61.]





Feedback is invited.  Contact Bob Stewart at info[at]peace.ca