Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 285–301

Stakeholder Theory and Managerial Decision-Making: Constraints and Implications of Balancing Stakeholder Interests


    • Business SchoolUniversity of Washington
  • Frank C. Schultz
    • Business SchoolUniversity of Washington
  • David R. Hekman
    • Business SchoolUniversity of Washington

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-005-5493-2

Cite this article as:
Reynolds, S.J., Schultz, F.C. & Hekman, D.R. J Bus Ethics (2006) 64: 285. doi:10.1007/s10551-005-5493-2


Stakeholder theory is widely recognized as a management theory, yet very little research has considered its implications for individual managerial decision-making. In the two studies reported here, we used stakeholder theory to examine managerial decisions about balancing stakeholder interests. Results of Study 1 suggest that indivisible resources and unequal levels of stakeholder saliency constrain managers’ efforts to balance stakeholder interests. Resource divisibility also influenced whether managers used a within-decision or an across-decision approach to balance stakeholder interests. In Study 2 we examined instrumental and normative implications of these two approaches. We conclude by considering the contributions of this research.


stakeholder managementethical decision-makingbalancing stakeholder interests
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© Springer 2006