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This chapter focuses on the economic concept of stakeholder management and defines the firm as a form of governance of stakeholder relationship. Stakeholders are defined as the owners or possessors of resources or competencies, which they contribute to a team. In doing so, Stakeholders consent to concluding a formal or informal contractual relationship. The approach suggests to define the governance of stakeholder relationships as a two-stage process, at first of identifying and then of prioritizing the relevant stakeholders of a team, both in regard to its constitution and to the implementation of its specific transactions. The nature of the firm can then be determined as a contractual nexus of stakeholder resources and stakeholder interests, whose function lies in the governance, namely the leadership, management and monitoring of the resource owners, with the aim of economic value creation and the distribution of a cooperation rent. The concept of a governance of stakeholder relationships by means of identification and prioritization developed here aims at creating a unified basis for the management of stakeholder relationships from a governance-economic perspective. Regardless of the form of contract that makes an individual or a group of actors an actual stakeholder, the selection and decision process must be organized in accordance with unified indicators. It is argued that the failure to do so has to be identified as a weakness of the current discussions in democracy theory and business ethics on stakeholder management, which are exclusively tailored to suit the special case of the NGOs or other actors in civil society. Investors, employers or suppliers as possessors of resources and representatives of interests however are simply ignored. This, so the argument runs, is possible from the viewpoint of political or ethical theories but not from the perspective of a general theory of stakeholder management.
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- The Firm as a Nexus of Stakeholders
- Chapter 7
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