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Does the Stakeholder Theory Constitute a New Kind of Theory of Social Responsibility?

Thomas L. Carson
Business Ethics Quarterly
Vol. 3, No. 2 (Apr., 1993), pp. 171-176
DOI: 10.2307/3857371
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3857371
Page Count: 6
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Does the Stakeholder Theory Constitute a New Kind of Theory of Social Responsibility?
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Abstract

In a recent paper, Kenneth Goodpaster formulates three versions of the stakeholder theory of corporate social responsibility. He rejects the first two versions and endorses the third. I argue that the theory that Goodpaster defends under the name "stakeholder theory" is a version (albeit a somewhat different version) of Milton Friedman's theory of corporate social responsibility. I also argue that the first two formulations of the stakeholder theory which Goodpaster discusses are at most only slight modifications of other theories. I conclude by formulating a fourth version of the stakeholder theory which I believe does constitute a substantial departure from earlier theories of social responsibility.

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