Stakeholder Voice: A Problem, a Solution and a Challenge for Managers and Academics

Philosophy of Management 8 (3):15-23 (2009)
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Abstract

The 25th anniversary of R. Edward Freeman’s Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach provides an opportunity to consider where stakeholder theory has been, where it is going, and how it might influence the behavior of academics conducting stakeholder-oriented research. We propose that Freeman’s early work on the stakeholder concept supports the normative claim that a stakeholder’s contribution to value creation implies a right to stakeholder voice with regard to how a corporation makes decisions. Failure to account for stakeholder voice (especially for non-shareholder stakeholders) works to the detriment of stakeholders. We further propose that business ethicists and stakeholder scholars have a role to play with regard to supporting the interests — including a right to voice — of non-shareholder stakeholders through advocacy, teaching, and scholarship. We use the example of industrial relations teaching and scholarship as a model for future business ethics teaching and scholarship.

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