Release | Stakeholder Theory: A Luhmannian Perspective

Dr. Steffen Roth

Valentinov V., Roth S., and Will M. G. (2018), Stakeholder theory: A Luhmannian perspectiveAdministration and Society, online first [SSCI 1.761, Scopus, CNRS***, ABS**, VHB**].

Abstract: We explore the cross-fertilization potential between stakeholder theory and Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory. Social systems, such as corporations or nonprofits, are defined by complexity reduction and operational closure, which may render them insensitive to their environment and undermine their sustainability. This vision resonates with stakeholder theory’s arguments on the importance of the corporate responsiveness to stakeholder interests. The suggested common ground between the theories yields novel insights into key concepts of stakeholder theory such as the contrast between the jointness of stakeholder interests and trade-off thinking, the normativity of the stakeholder idea, and the meaning of corporate social responsibility.

Keywords: stakeholder theory, social systems theory, Niklas Luhmann, normativity, organizational multifunctionality.

Full article available for download here.

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