Business Ethics and Stakeholder Analysis

Business Ethics Quarterly 1 (1):53-73 (1991)

Authors
Kenneth E. Goodpaster
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota
Abstract
Much has been written about stakeholder analysis as a process by which to introduce ethical values into management decision-making. This paper takes a critical look at the assumptions behind this idea, in an effort to understand better the meaning of ethical management decisions.A distinction is made between stakeholder analysis and stakeholder synthesis. The two most natural kinds of stakeholder synthesis are then defined and discussed: strategic and multi-fiduciary. Paradoxically, the former appears to yield business without ethics and the latter appears to yield ethics without business. The paper concludes by suggesting that a third approach to stakeholder thinking needs to be developed, one that avoids the paradox just mentioned and that clarifies for managers (and directors) the legitimate role of ethical considerations in decision-making
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Business and Professional Ethics  Social Science
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ISBN(s) 1052-150X
DOI 10.2307/3857592
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