Imperfections and shortcomings of the stakeholder model's graphical representation

Journal of Business Ethics 80 (4):879 - 888 (2008)
The success of the stakeholder theory in management literature as well as in current business practices is largely due to the inherent simplicity of the stakeholder model––and to the clarity of Freeman’s powerful synthesised visual conceptualisation. However, over the years, critics have attacked the vagueness and ambiguity of stakeholder theory. In this article, rather than building on the discussion from a theoretical point of view, a radically different and innovative approach is chosen: the graphical framework is used as the central perspective. The major shortcomings of the popular stakeholder framework are systematically confronted with the graphical scheme to illustrate their visual impact. The graphical illustrations of the imperfections help explain the sometimes-oversimplified generalisation inherent to every graphical model. They also make some interrelationships easier to understand. The analysis demonstrates that, with the tacit but implicit acceptance of simplification of the discussed explanatory elements, Freeman’s framework remains a rather good approximation of reality. Only a few minor changes to the stakeholder model are consequently proposed.
Keywords Freeman’s model  graphical framework  stakeholder  stakeholder model  stakeholder reciprocity  stakeholder theory  strategy
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-007-9474-5
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References found in this work BETA
Business Ethics and Stakeholder Analysis.Kenneth E. Goodpaster - 1991 - Business Ethics Quarterly 1 (1):53-73.
Stakeholder Legitimacy.Robert Phillips - 2003 - Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (1):25-41.
A Fiduciary Argument Against Stakeholder Theory.Alexei M. Marcoux - 2003 - Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (1):1-24.
The Moral Basis of Stakeholder Theory.Kevin Gibson - 2000 - Journal of Business Ethics 26 (3):245 - 257.
Differentiating Stakeholder Theories.John Kaler - 2003 - Journal of Business Ethics 46 (1):71 - 83.

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Citations of this work BETA
Inconsistencies in Activists' Behaviours and the Ethics of Ngos.Yves Fassin - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 90 (4):503 - 521.
A Dynamic Perspective in Freeman's Stakeholder Model.Yves Fassin - 2010 - Journal of Business Ethics 96 (S1):39-49.

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