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A Puzzle in SRI - Stakeholders in the Mist

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Author Info

  • Jos Leys

    ()
    (HIVA, Catholic University of Leuven)

  • Wim Van Opstal

    ()
    (HIVA, Catholic University of Leuven)

  • Caroline Gijselinckx

    ()
    (HIVA, Catholic University of Leuven)

Abstract

“Stakeholder” and related notions have been coined to enhance managerial practice in mainstream corporations. Currently, these notions are abundantly present in all kinds of discourses, especially those on mainstream “socially responsible investing”. But what kind of stakeholder management are these socially responsible investors promoting and what might be reasonable expectations about outcomes? We find that they promote an approach that has shareholder value as motivation and legitimisation and that they nowhere promote sharing of governance with stakeholders other than shareholders. We explain why this might reasonably be expected. Besides these mainstream investors and corporations, investing in co-operatively structured corporations differs regarding stakeholder positions with respect to the position of at least one stakeholder group, whether this be consumers, employees or producers. What are the implications thereof and are these investments then superior from a socially responsible perspective on investment? We find that co-operative investors meet their own set of difficulties in implementing stakeholder management. Our questions and findings enable us to formulate some critical remarks concerning the stakeholder-notion in both discourses and in general. We suggest its use should at least be minimised in favour of more specific notions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, HIVA, Cera Centre for Co-operative Entrepreneurship in its series Working Papers on Social and Co-operative Entrepreneurship with number 0901.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hva:wpssce:0901

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Keywords: stakeholder management; SRI; co-operatives; corporate governance;

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