The Stakeholder View of Strategy is an instrumental theory of the firm, integrating both, the resource-based view as well as the market-based view, and adding a socio-political level.
The theory has been developed in a project funded by the SLOAN Foundation, called Redefining the Corporation. The results of the project are summarized in the book "Redefining the Corporation: Stakeholder Management and Organizational Wealth", by Post, Preston, and Sachs, Stanford University Press, 2002.
According to the Stakeholder View, the focal firm can be defined as follows: "The corporation is an organization engaged in mobilizing resources for productive uses in order to create wealth and other benefits (and not to intentionally destroy wealth, increase risk, or cause harm) for its multiple constituents, or stakeholders."
Stakeholder theory has been articulated in a number of ways, but in each of these ways stakeholders represent a broader constituency for corporate responsibility than stockholders.
Stakeholder theories have grown in number and type since the term stakeholder was first coined in 1963.
In this respect, the statutes are much like stakeholder theory itself: beyond the basic insight that corporations ought (as a matter of profitable prudence or morality) to consider non-shareholder interests, the competing claims and priorities of various constituencies are seldom defined or prioritized.
Courts sometimes act as stakeholders, holding property while litigation between the possible owners resolves the issue of which one is entitled to the property, and trustees often act as stakeholders, holding property until beneficiaries come of age, for example.
An "escrow agent" is one kind of trustee who is a stakeholder, usually in a situation where part of the purchase price of property is being held until some condition is satisfied.
Post, Preston, Sachs (2002), in their theory called Stakeholderview, use the following definition of the term "stakeholder": "The stakeholders in a corporation are the individuals and constituencies that contribute, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to its wealth-creating capacity and activities, and that are therefore its potential beneficiaries and/or risk bearers."
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