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A Puzzle in SRI - Stakeholders in the Mist

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jos Leys & Wim Van Opstal & Caroline Gijselinckx, 2009. "A Puzzle in SRI - Stakeholders in the Mist," Working Papers on Social and Co-operative Entrepreneurship 0901, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, HIVA, Cera Centre for Co-operative Entrepreneurship.
  • Handle: RePEc:hva:wpssce:0901
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    File URL: http://www.cooperatiefondernemen.be/wp/WP%20SCE%2009-01.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility

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