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Book part
Publication date: 23 May 2017

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Stakeholder Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-407-1

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Book part
Publication date: 23 May 2017

Andrew C. Wicks and Jeffrey S. Harrison

This chapter highlights some of the tensions and most promising points of convergence between the strategic management and stakeholder theory literatures. We briefly…

Abstract

This chapter highlights some of the tensions and most promising points of convergence between the strategic management and stakeholder theory literatures. We briefly examine the early development of both areas, identifying some of the background assumptions and choices that informed how the fields evolved, and how these factors led the two fields to engage in scholarly pursuits that seldom intersected for a period of years, followed by a renewal of interest among strategists in themes that are central to stakeholder theory. From this discussion, we develop a larger agenda with specific topics as examples of areas that offer promise for integrative research that can advance knowledge in both fields. Our vision of the future is one in which the larger aspirations of scholars in strategy and stakeholder theory are more fully realized with human purposes, broadly defined, as the focal point.

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Book part
Publication date: 10 August 2018

Donald Lange and Jonathan Bundy

One way of looking at the association between ethics and stakeholder theory – of examining the idea that stakeholder theory has a strong moral foundation – is to consider…

Abstract

One way of looking at the association between ethics and stakeholder theory – of examining the idea that stakeholder theory has a strong moral foundation – is to consider how the stakeholder approach might in fact be directly driven by and guided by the moral obligations of business. An alternative perspective we offer is that stakeholder theory only indirectly derives from the moral obligations of business, with business purpose serving as a mediating factor. We work through the fairly straightforward logic behind that alternative perspective in this chapter. We argue that it is a better way to think about the association between ethics and stakeholder theory, particularly because it allows for a theoretical and practical distinction between corporate social responsibility and stakeholder theory. Stakeholder theory can thereby continue developing as a theory of strategic management, even as it brings morals to the fore in ways that other approaches to strategic management do not.

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Sustainability, Stakeholder Governance, and Corporate Social Responsibility
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-316-2

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Book part
Publication date: 1 December 2009

Lorne Cummings and Chris Patel

This chapter examines the literature surrounding stakeholder theory. Section 2.2 outlines the nature of what is a stakeholder, whereas Section 2.3 overviews the literature…

Abstract

This chapter examines the literature surrounding stakeholder theory. Section 2.2 outlines the nature of what is a stakeholder, whereas Section 2.3 overviews the literature on social accounting and reporting and details how it served as an antecedent to the specific literature on stakeholder management. Section 2.4 covers the mainstream literature on stakeholder management by examining the three distinct categories of stakeholder literature as outlined by Donaldson and Preston (1995): (1) descriptive; (2) instrumental; and (3) normative. The normative category includes a discussion on how the theory's fundamental aspects have been rejected outright by some authors, as a basis for a theory of the firm, due to the perceived paradox in relation to the firm's multi-fiduciary duty beyond the shareholder. Section 2.5 summarises the literature to date and outlines its main limitations, including the primary emphasis on seeking to normatively ground the theory. Section 2.6 then provides the conclusions with a table summarising the research objectives and outcomes.

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Managerial Attitudes toward a Stakeholder Prominence within a Southeast Asia Context
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-255-5

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Book part
Publication date: 23 May 2017

Abe Zakhem and Daniel E. Palmer

Theories of management require normative justification; that is, they rely on some conception of what is morally good, right, and just. This chapter examines some of the…

Abstract

Theories of management require normative justification; that is, they rely on some conception of what is morally good, right, and just. This chapter examines some of the normative reasons for adopting a stakeholder theory of management and for rejecting the once, and perhaps still, “dominant” shareholder-centric approach. This chapter then surveys some of the prominent “normative cores” that are used to ground stakeholder theory, that is, Kantian, contractarian, feminist ethics, and ethical pragmatism, and the moral obligations that each normative approach generates. Some pressing questions are raised with respect to each normative approach. To what extent ought we to recognize imperfect obligations to shareholders? Are contractarian hypernorms morally substantive? How exactly should we care about stakeholders, and is care even an appropriate attitudinal response? Without some commitment to objective ethical standards, how can pragmatists resolve stakeholder conflict?

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Book part
Publication date: 23 May 2017

Samantha Miles

Stakeholder theory has been accused of being an umbrella concept rather than a distinct theory per se. Recognizing the stakeholder concept as an essentially contested…

Abstract

Stakeholder theory has been accused of being an umbrella concept rather than a distinct theory per se. Recognizing the stakeholder concept as an essentially contested concept subject to multiple competing interpretations, this chapter presents a systematic meta-level conceptual analysis. This chapter aims to contribute to the optimal development of stakeholder theory by clarifying the conceptual confusion surrounding its central construct to help prevent stakeholder theory from developing into an accumulation of disparate ideas. Multi-contextual contributions to stakeholder theory are analysed via an unparalleled bounded systematic review of 593 stakeholder definitions. Determinants of the stakeholder concept have been deconstructed and analysed to establish how definitional variables relate to variants of stakeholder theory. These determinants have been sorted, filtered and ordered to produce a comprehensive, multi-dimensional classification of stakeholder theory based on four hyponyms which relate to 16 definitional categories. The classification was then subjected to empirical testing with positive results. This evaluation of the stakeholder concept illustrates how contributions are aligned and interrelated, thereby prescribing what is acceptable (unacceptable) as inclusion within stakeholder theory. An invaluable overview of what we know about stakeholder theory is presented within a single model, drawing the conclusion that stakeholder theory is indeed a single theory.

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Article
Publication date: 29 October 2019

Vladislav Valentinov and Anna Hajdu

The stakeholder theory encompasses instrumental and normative varieties whose mutual relationship remains unclear and exhibits a classic tension between rational…

Abstract

Purpose

The stakeholder theory encompasses instrumental and normative varieties whose mutual relationship remains unclear and exhibits a classic tension between rational self-interest and moral motivation. The purpose of this paper is to develop a strategy for navigating this tension.

Design/methodology/approach

Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory is concerned with the limited ability of social systems to codify, and be receptive to, the complexity of the environment. Drawing on this theory, the paper juxtaposes the codification problems of two types of social systems: the for-profit firm and the economic function system.

Findings

This juxtaposition allows to identify four firm behavior patterns, two of which can be aligned with instrumental and normative stakeholder theories. If the codification capacity of the economic function system is assumed to be sufficient, the codification problems of the for-profit firm are shown to specify the range of applicability of the instrumental stakeholder theory. Dropping the above assumption is shown to specify the range of applicability of the normative stakeholder theory.

Originality/value

The argument offers a fresh way of understanding the institutional economics foundations of the stakeholder theory. Given that the systems-theoretic idea of codification reflects the functioning of the real-world institutions, the argument shows that both instrumental and normative stakeholder theories reflect the institutional texture of the modern society in distinct but equally legitimate ways.

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Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 17 December 2019

Samantha Miles and Kate Ringham

The purpose of this paper is to use a multi-disciplinary theoretical understanding of boundary setting to develop a quadripartite model in which sustainability reporting…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to use a multi-disciplinary theoretical understanding of boundary setting to develop a quadripartite model in which sustainability reporting boundaries are classified as “Reputation Management”, “Ownership and Control”, “Accountability”; and, “Stakeholder Engagement”. Content analysis is then used to empirically test the model.

Design/methodology/approach

Using impression management theory, rationalism, systems and contingency theory, and network theory, a model is created which classifies sustainability reporting boundaries. Content analysis is used to empirically test boundaries across the disclosure of 49 GRI topics by the FTSE100.

Findings

Sustainability reporting fails to discharge accountability due to adoption of narrow “Reputation Management” boundaries. Boundaries are significantly (p<0.0001) narrower than previous research suggests. Findings support impression management theory as the strongest theory to predict reporting content. An ownership and control boundary, although widely criticized, represents the boundary of progressive reporters, lending marginal support for economic theories. Accountability boundaries are scarce. No evidence was found for stakeholder engagement boundaries.

Practical implications

The determination of boundary is critical to the discharge of accountability. A critical consideration of boundary setting is required, including authentic stakeholder engagement in determining boundaries and transparency of boundary adopted. The results are ranked to enable benchmarking of the FTSE100. Boundaries can be widened through regulation or “name and shame campaigns”.

Originality/value

This paper provides a theory-informed advancement in thinking on sustainability reporting boundary setting and the importance of this for advancing sustainability reporting quality.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Jon Aarum Andersen

This paper aims to show how organisation theory can be used to understand the controversy between the shareholder and the stakeholder perspectives. Rationalistic and open…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to show how organisation theory can be used to understand the controversy between the shareholder and the stakeholder perspectives. Rationalistic and open system theories may enhance research on corporate governance by offering well-defined concepts and by specifying core relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper applies descriptions of the two perspectives in organisation theory as a “method” for illustrating how they are linked to and support the shareholder versus the stakeholder perspectives.

Findings

The controversy stems from the fact that the shareholder and the stakeholder perspectives address different relationships. The shareholder perspective captures two relationships that accord with rationalistic organisation theory: shareholders are managing the managers and the organisation, and managers are managing the corporation on behalf of the owners. The stakeholder perspective focuses on three relationships that are not concordant with system theory: managers are managing the shareholders (i.e. the symbolic management of stockholders), managers are managing the corporation (i.e. general management theory) and managers are managing the stakeholders.

Research limitations/implications

Organisation theory provides suggestions for more fruitful definitions of the often-used concepts of direction, control, administration and influence. These terms may be substituted with the well-defined concepts of management, power and control.

Practical implications

Proponents of organisation theory find it theoretically difficult to deal with the topic of corporate governance, if they do at all. When they do, they do it only perfunctorily.

Originality/value

Organisation theory may strengthen research on corporate governance if we insist on both theoretical clarifications of major relationships and on the use of more strictly defined concepts.

Details

Corporate Governance, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Elena P. Antonacopoulou and Jérôme Méric

In this article a critique of stakeholder theory is presented. The analysis highlights several concerns regarding the scientific rigor of this body of knowledge revealing…

Abstract

In this article a critique of stakeholder theory is presented. The analysis highlights several concerns regarding the scientific rigor of this body of knowledge revealing the assumptions and inconsistencies that underpin its main propositions. The discussion shows in particular some of the internal contradictions between, on the one hand, the ideology of social good, and on the other hand, the ideology of control which we argue is not fully accounted for in the way stakeholder theory was popularized in recent years. Our critique opens up more possibilities for engaging with stakeholder theory acknowledging the underlying values that are at stake, thus, revealing the political and value‐laden nature of the concept of stake‐holder. What we seek to draw particular attention to is the way stake‐holder analysis reveals the challenges when not only subjectivities but identities are at stake. This latter point we hope will encourage greater reflexivity among theorists and researchers in this field, recognizing that their personal biases and partialities influence their scholarship, and the way they shape the ideologies stakeholder theory is presented by.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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