Companies are often confronted with important strategic issues, such as environmental concerns. Generally, they react in one of two basic ways: buffering the enterprise or bridging the issue. Insight into the factors determining the choice between those two generic strategies is important for managers. Three recent and mutually related analytical frameworks from corporate communication and management theory are discussed and exemplified by the Shell Brent Spar case. This case shows the development of two generic environmental strategies over time: initial buffering of the firm from external stakeholders, and later a shift towards a bridging strategy. On the basis of our theoretical and empirical analysis, it appears that top management's attitude regarding cooperation with external stakeholders plays a key role in choosing bridging versus buffering strategies