The Stakeholder Theory of the Corporation: Concepts, Evidence, and Implications

Thomas Donaldson and Lee E. Preston
The Academy of Management Review
Vol. 20, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 65-91
Published by: Academy of Management
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Page Count: 27
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The Stakeholder Theory of the Corporation: Concepts, Evidence, and Implications


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.

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