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Citizens as Contractualist Stakeholders

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  • David Silver

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Abstract

This article examines the way that for-profit businesses should take into account the interests of the citizens in the liberal democratic societies in which they operate. I will show how a contractualist version of stakeholder theory identifies the relevant moral interests of both shareholders and citizen stakeholders, and provides a method for giving their interests appropriate consideration. These include (1) the interests that individuals have with respect to private property, (2) the interests citizens have in receiving equitable consideration in the political process, and (3) citizens’ interests which give them the collective right to determine the legal and economic structure of their societies. Using this contractualist analysis, I argue that corporations should consciously take into account the interests of citizen stakeholders when there is no other social mechanism for protecting their interests as citizens. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • David Silver, 2012. "Citizens as Contractualist Stakeholders," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 109(1), pages 3-13, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:109:y:2012:i:1:p:3-13
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1375-6
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10551-012-1375-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Freeman, R. Edward, 1994. "The Politics of Stakeholder Theory: Some Future Directions," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(04), pages 409-421, October.
    2. Edward Freeman, R. & Evan, William M., 1990. "Corporate governance: A stakeholder interpretation," Journal of Behavioral Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 337-359.
    3. Phillips, Robert & Freeman, R. Edward & Wicks, Andrew C., 2003. "What Stakeholder Theory is Not," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(04), pages 479-502, October.
    4. Edward Freeman, R. & Phillips, Robert A., 2002. "Stakeholder Theory: A Libertarian Defense," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 331-349, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David Silver, 2015. "Business Ethics After Citizens United: A Contractualist Analysis," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 127(2), pages 385-397, March.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:4:p:1300-:d:142696 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Susan Castro, 2014. "The Morality of Unequal Autonomy: Reviving Kant’s Concept of Status for Stakeholders," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 121(4), pages 593-606, June.
    4. Mary Stoll, 2015. "Corporate Political Speech and Moral Obligation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 553-563, December.

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