Pivoting the Role of Government in the Business and Society Interface: A Stakeholder Perspective

Journal of Business Ethics 131 (3):665-680 (2015)
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The growing popularization of stakeholder theory among management scholars has offered a useful framework for understanding the multiple and interdependent roles of government and business in an increasingly challenging political and regulatory environment. Despite this trend, attention to the role and responsibility of government to protect citizen rights has been limited. To the two traditional stakeholder theory views of government where the focal organization remains the firm, we propose to add two views by pivoting the government’s place and making it the focal organization. We thus describe governments as serving four roles in the business–government–society nexus. For each role, we analyze typical governmental activities/behaviors, relationships with firms’ stakeholders, as well as the challenges and limits to these roles. We also focus on the central notion of salience amplification, as a means of checks and balances across stakeholders in order to safeguard citizen rights and reveal the greater good.



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