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Stakeholder Theory and Organizational Ethics

Book Description

Business ethics is a staple in the news today. One of the most difficult ethical questions facing managers is, To whom are they responsible? Organizations can affect and are affected by many different constituencies-these groups are often called stakeholders. But who are these stakeholders? What sort of managerial attention should they receive? Is there a legal duty to attend to stakeholders or is such a duty legally prohibited due to the shareholder wealth maximization imperative? In short, for whose benefit ought a firm be managed? Despite the ever growing importance of these questions, there is no comprehensive, theoretical treatment of the stakeholder framework currently in print. In Stakeholder Theory and Organizational Ethics, Robert Phillips provides an extended defense of stakeholder theory as the preeminent theory of organizational ethics today. Addressing the difficult question of what the moral underpinning of stakeholder theory should be, Phillips elaborates a "principle of stakeholder fairness" based on the ideas of the late John Rawls-the most prominent moral and political philosopher of the twentieth century. Phillips shows how this principle clarifies several long-standing questions in stakeholder theory, including: Who are an organization's legitimate stakeholders? What is the basis for this legitimacy? What, if any, are the limits of stakeholder theory? What is the relationship between stakeholder theory and other moral, political, and business ethical theories? Applying research from many related disciplines, Stakeholder Theory and Organizational Ethics is an overdue response to several long-standing and fundamental points of contention within business ethics and management theory.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Foreword
  5. Preface
  6. Chapter 1: Stakeholder Theory and Organizational Dogma
    1. Stakeholder Theory
    2. Chapter 2: The Limits of Stakeholder Theory
    3. Chapter 3: Why Organizational Ethics?
    4. Chapter 4: Stakeholder Theory and Its Critics
    5. Chapter 5: A Principle of Stakeholder Fairness
    6. Chapter 6: Stakeholder Legitimacy
    7. Chapter 7: Stakeholder Identity
    8. Chapter 8: Stakeholder Theory in Practice
  7. Chapter 2: The Limits of Stakeholder Theory
    1. What Stakeholder Theory Is
    2. Critical Distortions: Straw-Persons and Evil Genies
    3. Friendly Misinterpretations
    4. Conclusion
  8. Chapter 3: Why Organizational Ethics?
    1. Why a Theory of Organizational Ethics?
    2. Limitations of Political Theory for Organizations
    3. Limitations of Moral Philosophy for Organizations
    4. Toward an Ethics of Organizations
    5. Conclusion
  9. Chapter 4: Stakeholder Theory and Its Critics
    1. Stakeholder Distinctions
    2. Stakeholders, Agency Theory, and Fiduciary Duties
    3. Stakeholder Theory and the Place of Fairness
    4. Conclusion
  10. Chapter 5: A Principle of Stakeholder Fairness
    1. A Principle of Fairness
    2. Obligations
    3. Defending Fairness
    4. Fairness and Consent
    5. Fairness and Integrative Social Contracts Theory
    6. On the Question of Justification
    7. Discourse Ethics and the Content of Stakeholder Obligations
    8. Stakeholders As Analytic to Business
    9. Conclusion
  11. Chapter 6: Stakeholder Legitimacy
    1. Legitimacy in Stakeholder Theory
    2. Legitimacy in Stakeholder Research: Normative and Derivative Perspectives
    3. Legitimacy in Practice
  12. Chapter 7: Stakeholder Identity
    1. The Natural Environment As a Stakeholder
    2. Problems with the Natural Environment As a Stakeholder
    3. The Natural Environment and Community Stakeholders
    4. Social Activists As Stakeholders
    5. Activist Groups and Civil Disobedience
    6. Civil Disobedience and Stakeholder Theory
    7. Conclusion
  13. Chapter 8: Stakeholder Theory in Practice
    1. Why Should Managers Pay Attention to Stakeholders?
    2. Who Are an Organization’s Stakeholders and What Is the Basis for Their Legitimacy?
    3. What Do Stakeholders Want?
    4. How Should Managers Prioritize among Stakeholders?
    5. Are the Ethics of Business Different from Everyday Ethics?
    6. Stakeholder Best Practice
    7. Other Challenges to Stakeholder Theory
  14. Notes
  15. Bibliography
  16. Index
  17. About The Author
  18. Berrett-Koehler Publishers