Many people no longer trust in capitalism. We draw on upper echelons theory, paradox theory, and the trust literature to consider the sources and implications of this loss of trust. Although firms face growing pressures to address social problems that often are attributed to capitalism, firms also face intense pressures to maximize shareholder returns. In response, we outline key attributes of stakeholder-oriented leadership that can help managers address these new social demands. We also identify stakeholderbased strategies that firms are enacting to tackle these challenges, how lack of trust affects the impact of these strategies, and how strategic leadership is critically important to their effectiveness. We argue that a more widespread, consistent, and concerted effort to integrate social and financial missions, and to balance the needs of multiple stakeholders, is needed to mitigate the loss of trust in capitalism. We conclude with managerial, theoretical, and public policy implications, including a discussion of the trade-offs between private sector and government-mandated solutions to social problems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management