Stakeholder agency and Social welfare: Pluralism and decision making in the multi-objective corporation

Ronald K. Mitchell, Gary R. Weaver, Bradley R. Agle, Adam D. Bailey, James Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social welfare, or the good society, is of central concern to the Academy of Management. We begin by observing that, in theory and practice, social welfare appears to be a multifarious, multidimensional, pluralistic concept. In light of this, we develop an account of a multiobjective corporation as a means for enabling a greater range of management decisions so as to permit more direct corporate engagement in the diverse goals of various stakeholders. In the course of doing this, we critique aspects of single-objective theories of corporate function and argue that a key objection to multi-objective views can be avoided. Our analysis is built on a stakeholder agency framework wherein corporate actions reflect the outcome of an intracorporate "marketplace." We suggest that improvements in social welfare are more likely when intracorporate markets among stakeholders can operate unconstrained by some single-valued objective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-275
Number of pages24
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

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