, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 329-342

Normative Stakeholder Theory and Aristotle: The Link Between Ethics and Politics

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Stakeholder theory is an important part of modern business ethics. Many scholars argue for a normative instead of an instrumental approach to stakeholder theory. Recent examples of such an approach show that problems appear with respect to the ethical foundation as well as the specification of the norms and the relation between corporate and individual responsibilities. This paper argues for the relevance of Aristotle's ideas on ethics and politics, and especially the link between them, for stakeholder theory. An Aristotelian approach suggests that the corporation should be considered as existing to allow the decision maker, who normally is a manager, to live a complete and good life and to make decisions that involve the interests of different stakeholders. This approach leads to a number of implications regarding the role of organizational politics and the managerial function.