Assessing Freeman’s Stakeholder Theory

Journal of Business Ethics 87 (3):401-414 (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX


At least since the publication of the monumental Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach, the "stakeholder theory" originated by R. E. Freeman has engrossed much of the business ethics literature. Subsequently, some advocates have moved a bit too quickly and without proper definition or argument. They have exceeded Freeman's intentions which are more libertarian and free-market than is often thought. This essay focuses on the versions of stakeholder theory directly authored or coauthored by Freeman in an effort to recover Freeman's intentions and the argumentative justification of stakeholder theory. It then argues that Freeman's appeal to legal, economic, and ethical constraints ultimately produce arguments that are invalid. One can thoroughly support legislation constraining corporations or seeking to prevent age discrimination, market monopolies, and externalities and regret the extent that capitalism is heir to such shortcomings without it following that business beneficiaries should be changed from stockholders to stakeholders and the latter should be given serious decision-making power. Further, stakeholder theory neither defines nor battles any obvious opposition. Hence, it is difficult to see what it changes about business management. In short, stakeholder theory either changes too much about business, or nothing important at all. Efforts to supplant or improve the reigning theory of capitalism will have to do better.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 77,805

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Assessing Freeman’s Stakeholder Theory.James A. Stieb - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 87 (3):401 - 414.
Stakeholder Theory: 25 Years Later.R. Edward Freeman - 2009 - Philosophy of Management 8 (3):97-107.
Stakeholder theory: A libertarian defense.R. Edward Freeman & Robert A. Phillips - 2002 - Business Ethics Quarterly 12 (3):331-350.
A Dynamic Perspective in Freeman’s Stakeholder Model.Yves Fassin - 2010 - Journal of Business Ethics 96 (S1):39-49.
What Managers Do: Comparing Rhenman and Freeman.Wim Vandekerckhove - 2009 - Philosophy of Management 8 (3):25-35.
R. Edward Freeman.October Freeman - 1994 - The Politics of Stakeholder Theory: Some Future Direction, Business Ethics Quarterly 4:409-421.
Stakeholders and the Moral Responsibilities of Business.Bruce Langtry - 1994 - Business Ethics Quarterly 4 (4):431-443.
Freeman and the Normative Turn in Stakeholder Theorizing.Ben Wempe - 2006 - Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 17:274-279.


Added to PP

13 (#774,968)

6 months
3 (#245,622)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

James Stieb
Drexel University