The association between ethics and stakeholder theory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


One way of looking at the association between ethics and stakeholder theory – of examining the idea that stakeholder theory has a strong moral foundation – is to consider how the stakeholder approach might in fact be directly driven by and guided by the moral obligations of business. An alternative perspective we offer is that stakeholder theory only indirectly derives from the moral obligations of business, with business purpose serving as a mediating factor. We work through the fairly straightforward logic behind that alternative perspective in this chapter. We argue that it is a better way to think about the association between ethics and stakeholder theory, particularly because it allows for a theoretical and practical distinction between corporate social responsibility and stakeholder theory. Stakeholder theory can thereby continue developing as a theory of strategic management, even as it brings morals to the fore in ways that other approaches to strategic management do not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Strategic Management
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Strategic Management
ISSN (Print)0742-3322


  • Business purpose
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Ethics
  • Moral foundations
  • Stakeholder theory
  • Strategic management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'The association between ethics and stakeholder theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this