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The Stakeholder Theory Of The Corporation: Concepts, Evidence, And Implications

T. Donaldson, L. E. Preston
Published 1995 · Sociology

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?The stakeholder theory has been advanced and justified in the management literature on the basis of its descriptive accuracy, instrumental power, and normative validity. These three aspects of the theory, although interrelated, are quite distinct; they involve different types of evidence and argument and have different implications. In this article, we examine these three aspects of the theory and critique and integrate important contributions to the literature related to each. We conclude that the three aspects of stakeholder theory are mutually supportive and that the normative base of the theory-which includes the modern theory of property rights-is fundamental. If the unity of the corporate body is real, then there is reality and not simply legal fiction in the proposition that the managers of the unit are fiduciaries for it and not merely for its individual members, that they are . . . trustees for an institution [with multiple constituents] rather than attorneys for the stockholders.
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