Chapter 6: Corporate Stakeholders in New Zealand – The Present, and Possibilities for the Future
P.M. Vasudev The interaction between global economic growth and global social challenge has led to changes in the character and behaviour of corporations and in public expectations about the role and responsibility of corporations within society. (James Post et al. 2002) 1 INTRODUCTION The stakeholder principle has gained significant recognition in corporate governance in recent times. It represents a refinement of the more limited conception of business corporations as vehicles designed to promote the economic interests of their shareholders. The stakeholder vision articulated in recent times is more expansive and proactive. It covers a large number of non-shareholder groups – employees, suppliers, communities and so on – and advocates greater corporate engagement in protecting their interests and enhancing their welfare. This chapter presents the results of a survey of the companies listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZSX) to determine how far they reflect the stakeholder idea in their governance policies. The results of the survey, summarized below, point towards rising acceptance of the stakeholder vision in New Zealand. ● ● Out of the 130 companies that have listed their shares on the NZSX, 91 recognize stakeholders in some form. The references are found in different documents – namely, governance charters, annual reports, mission statements and so on (herein collectively termed ‘governance documents’). Among these 130 listed companies, 20 are incorporated overseas. Three-fourths or 15 of the companies incorporated outside New 120 M2860 - VASUDEV 9780857931528 PRINT.indd 120 24/02/2012 08:06 Corporate stakeholders in New Zealand 121 ● Zealand acknowledge non-shareholder interests in their governance...
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