All animals are equal, but …: management perceptions of stakeholder relationships and societal responsibilities in multinational corporations

Business Ethics: A European Review 20 (2):177-191 (2011)
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Abstract

The stakeholder approach has become a popular perspective in mainstream management and the corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature. However, it remains an open question as to how real-life managers actually view stakeholders and what rationales and logics are used for explaining the relationship between the firm and its constituencies. This article examines whom managers in multinational corporations (MNCs) consider to be their important stakeholders, and how they describe the societal responsibilities towards these groups and individuals. It is concluded that managers still tend to hold a rather narrow (managerial) view of the firm and generally give priority to stakeholder groups who are directly involved in the firm's core transformation system. The conclusions are derived from interview and survey data from 647 managers in four MNCs. The paper is based on data collected as part of project RESPONSE: a European Union- and corporate-funded initiative on CSR.

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