A Response to “The Social Responsibility of Corporate Management: A Classical Critique”

Frederick R. Post (University of Toledo)

American Journal of Business

ISSN: 1935-5181

Publication date: 22 April 2003


The preceding article, “The Social Responsibility of Corporate Management: A Classical Critique,” argues that the Shareholder Theory, which the authors refer to as the “Friedman Paradigm” represents the only intellectually and ethically meritorious model for assessing corporate social responsibility. This response argues that the 19th Century Shareholder Theory is based upon numerous factual and legal inaccuracies and fictions when evaluated in the context of the modern era. Requiring that management serve only the interests of the shareholders is morally untenable. The authors’ assertion that the competing theory, The Stakeholder Theory, is unworkable is based upon both a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the theory. Refinements and clarifications about who qualifies as a stakeholder make the Stakeholder Theory both workable and a very useful way to improve corporate governance. Now is the time to apply the Stakeholder Theory as part of the ongoing process of improving the moral and social responsibility of corporation management.



Post, F. (2003), "A Response to “The Social Responsibility of Corporate Management: A Classical Critique”", American Journal of Business, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 25-36. https://doi.org/10.1108/19355181200300002

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