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August 15 , 2008

Stakeholder Theory

The State of the Art


In 1984, R. Edward Freeman published his landmark book, Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach, a work that set the agenda for what we now call stakeholder theory. In the intervening years, the literature on stakeholder theory has become vast and diverse. This book examines this body of research and assesses its relevance for our understanding of modern business. Beginning with a discussion of the origins and development of stakeholder theory, it shows how this corpus of theory has influenced a variety of different fields, including strategic management, finance, accounting, management, marketing, law, health care, public policy, and environment. It also features in-depth discussions of two important areas that stakeholder theory has helped to shape and define: business ethics and corporate social responsibility. The book concludes by arguing that we should re-frame capitalism in the terms of stakeholder theory so that we come to see business as creating value for stakeholders.

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