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Limits to Stakeholder Influence

Why the Business Case Won't Save the World

Michael L. Barnett

In business, does it pay to be good? Drawing from two decades of published conceptual and empirical scholarship, this book outlines the mechanisms of the business case for corporate social responsibility and demonstrates the conditions that cause good corporate acts to succeed, or fail, in turning a profit. Central to the explanation is the role of stakeholders, who are portrayed as agents who can turn corporate “good into gold” but lack the capacity to do so consistently. This book takes a critical perspective, noting significant limits on the ability of stakeholders to reward good corporate behavior and rein in bad corporate acts. It concludes with several ways that scholars can improve this important and popular research topic.

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