Stakeholders and the Moral Responsibilities of Business

Business Ethics Quarterly 4 (4):431-443 (1994)
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Abstract

This paper discusses the normative ethical theory of the business firm advanced principally by William E. Evan and R. Edward Freeman. According to their stakeholder theory, the firm should be managed for the benefit of its stakeholders: indeed, management has a fiduciary obligation to stakeholders to act as their agent. In this paper I seek to clarify the theory by discussing the concept of a stakeholder and by distinguishing stakeholder theory from two varieties of stockholder theory-I call them ‘pure’ and ‘tinged.’ I argue that the distinctive claims of stakeholder theory, as contrasted with tinged stockholder theories, have been inadequately supported by argument.

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Bruce Langtry
University of Melbourne

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