Print version ISSN 0121-5051
WEISS-BELALCAZAR, Anita. Companies’ social responsibility in a stakeholder society. Innovar [online]. 2003, vol.13, n.22, pp. 43-54. ISSN 0121-5051.
The present article looks at those limitations explaining the inductive process of theoretical construction, taking the development of the concept of “stakeholder” as an example. This concept has come to mean, “Those sectors affecting or affected by the task of a company.” This is differentiated from shareholders or stockholders by a play on words in English. The trajectory of the concept of “stakeholder” ranges from a micro-concept to a level linked to defining entrepreneurial management strategies, passing through a broadening of its definition within the framework of the problem regarding companies’ social responsibility to a macro-concept which tries to embrace analysing a particular society as a whole. This concept was initially linked to the problem of corporate governance, referring to the need for companies to consider banks and workers’ interests and not just shareholders’ interests. The concept was later broadened to include suppliers and customers. Analysing companies’ role in a society became modified with globalisation and neo-liberal policy and the concept of stakeholder became integrated into discussion regarding companies’ social responsibility not just to those alreadymentioned sectors but also to the State, society and the environment. Stakeholder does not just now mean simply a concept but also stakeholder theory and a stakeholder society. Several authors have pointed out the contradictions and limitations which emerge on trying to pinpoint the interests of different sectors defined as being “affected” which companies must supposedly bear in mind and the difficulties of analysing society from this point of view. The example of how the situation of workers in contemporary society can be analysed through a deductive-inductive approach is given, using aspects suggested by sociological theory.
Keywords : Stakeholder; sectors affected by the task of a company; corporate governance; social responsibility.