Stakeholder Management Theory: A Critical Theory Perspective

Business Ethics Quarterly 9 (3):453-483 (1999)
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Abstract

Abstract:This article elaborates a normative Stakeholder Management Theory (SHMT) from a critical theory perspective. The paper argues that the normative theory elaborated by critical theorists such as Habermas exhibits important advantages over its rivals and that these advantages provide the basis for a theoretically more adequate version of SHMT. In the first section of the paper an account is given of normative theory from a critical theory perspective and its advantages over rival traditions. A key characteristic of the critical theory approach is expressed as a distinction between three different normative realms, viz., legitimacy, morality, and ethics. In the second section, the outlines of a theory of stakeholder management are provided. First, three basic tasks of a theoretically adequate treatment of the normative analysis of stakeholder management are identified. This is followed by a discussion of how a critical theory approach to SHMT is able to fulfill these three tasks.

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