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Business and Stakeholders Analysis

In: Business and Management

Submitted By sszhao
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BUSINESS ETHICS AND STAKEHOLDER ANALYSIS
Kenneth E. Goodpaster

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 ethica] 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 men* tioned and that clarifies for managers (and directors) the legitimate role of ethical considerations in decision-making.
So we must think through what management should be accountable for; and how and through whom its accountability can be discharged. The stockholders' interest, both short- and long-term, is one of the areas. But it is only one.

Peter Dnicker, 1988 Harvard Business Review

W

HAT is ethically responsible management? How can a corporation, given its economic mission, be managed with appropriate attention to ethical concerns? These are central questions in the field of business ethics. One approach to answering such questions that has become popular during the last two decades is loosely referred to as "stakeholder anaiysis." Ethically responsible management, it is often suggested, is management that includes careful attention not only to stockholders but to stakeholders generally in the decision-making process. This suggestion about the ethical importance of stakeholder analysis contains an important kernel of truth, but it can also be...

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