R. E. Friedman's Stakeholder Theory

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Perhaps Friedman’s most prevalent justification for dismissing social responsibility from business arises from his view on ethical spending. He believed that it was unethical for businessmen to spend other people’s (shareholders) money on other people (i.e. the community), and that transactions of such a nature should be left to government and corporate social responsibility programs. This line of thinking reinforced what is known today as the shareholder primacy model, whereby the primary moral duty of any corporation is to serve the shareholder’s interests, subject to some moral minimum (Smith, 2003). Friedman held that it was the shareholders money being spent, not the corporation 's, as corporations were merely fictional entities. Numerous…show more content…
Furthermore, he believed that any corporation assuming a more socially responsible attitude would be met with economic limitations, rendering them less competitive in the market area (Friedman, 1970). R.E. Freeman’s ‘Stakeholder theory’ is often seen as a better alternative to Friedman’s ‘Shareholder primacy theory’. Both the Stakeholder theory and Shareholder theory are normative theories explaining what a corporations social responsibilities ought to be and both adopt a similar stance on management’s accountability (Smith, 2003). However, the Stakeholder theory states that a manager’s duty is not only to focus on shareholder’s interests, but also to balance them against the interests of the company’s other stakeholders. Freeman believes that managers should take into account their customer’s, supplier’s and employee’s interests, even if it brings about a decrease in shareholder returns (Smith, 2003). This is being expanded on because Freeman believes that if Friedman were alive today, he would be a supporter of his Stakeholder Theory. Simply because, in today’s day and age, globalization and increased competition in the markets has led to corporations having to rely not only their shareholders for support but on all their stakeholders (Makower,…show more content…
According to Friedman, cutting the electricity to non-paying customers must be considered a unanimous maxim, irrespective of the outcomes, however harsh they may be. To him, this was considered an ethical decision because the utility company’s managers have a moral duty to the shareholders, to ensure that the company survives (Peter, 2009). This is testimony to the unforgiving, systematized ethical views of Milton Friedman. He believed in free markets, and fiercely opposed anything that threatened them, regardless of the
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