Impact and Prospects
Edited by Robert A. Phillips
Chapter 7: Where is the Theory in Stakeholder Theory? A Meta-analysis of the Pluralism in Stakeholder Theory
Andreas Georg Scherer and Moritz Patzer In the 25 years since the publication of Freeman’s book Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach in 1984, stakeholder theory has had a profound impact on our perception of the relation between the corporation and its social environment. Although originally intended as a textbook in Strategic Management (see Freeman 2004: 229), Freeman’s publication has been widely recognized in fields such as Business and Society, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and Business Ethics (see Freeman and McVea, 2001; Jones, Wicks and Freeman, 2002; Freeman, 2004; Walsh, 2005; Agle et al., 2008; Laplume, Sonpar and Litz, 2008). Its core notion is that of a managerial approach that goes beyond a neoclassical shareholder-orientation and recognizes the strategic relevance of stakeholders in an increasingly complex world (for example, Freeman, 1994; Jones, Wicks and Freeman, 2002; critically, Jensen, 2002; Sundaram and Inkpen, 2004; Walsh, 2005). The inclusion of the latter, understood as ‘any group or individual who is affected by or can affect the achievement of an organization’s objectives’ (Freeman, 1984: 46; see also Mitchell, Agle and Wood, 1997), has prepared the ground for a new understanding of the firm’s social embeddedness. The work of Freeman and his colleagues has sparked enthusiastic calls for an integrative theory of the firm with stakeholder theory as a ‘central paradigm for the business and society field’ (Jones, 1995: 432; see also Donaldson and Preston, 1995; Wood and Jones, 1995; Harrison and Freeman, 1999). Likewise, it has been considered as a foothold in the ‘Normative...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.