Corporate governance and democracy: the stakeholder debate revisited

Driver, Ciaran and Thompson, Grahame (2002). Corporate governance and democracy: the stakeholder debate revisited. Journal of Management and Governance, 6(2) pp. 111–130.



'Stakeholding' is a term laden with many meanings. In this paper we attempt to put some order on the discourse by confining attention to the corporation. We assess the origins and the intellectual foundations of the 'shareholder versus stakeholder' debate. We ask whether and how 'stakeholding' might be a more logical or rational system, a fairer or more democratic system, and one that provides better performative outcomes. Each of these claims is assessed in respect to the micro firm perspective and the macro economy-wide perspective. One of the most difficult and neglected areas in the stakeholding debate concerns the practicalities of its implementation. The paper tackles this issue directly, at both the domestic and the international level. We ask not only how stakeholding might be sensibly introduced within a national context but also what it means to discuss stakeholding in respect to transnational enterprises.

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