Stakeholder Theory Through the Lenses of Catholic Social Thought

Abstract

Beyond different starting points, stakeholder theory (ST) and Catholic Social Thought (CST) share many compatible perspectives when analyzing the role of the firm in economic activity, especially regarding the attention of the firm to different social and economic actors. Additionally, ST bears limitations regarding its ethical and anthropological foundation, and also about the legitimation of the different stakeholders’ interests. Therefore, ST lacks clear criteria to solve possible conflicts of interest between stakeholders. This paper analyzes the potentiality of ST, widely accepted in corporate management, to integrate CST principles in order to solve those conflicts. At the same time, the paper studies the possibility of finding in the principles of CST an anthropological and ethical foundation for ST. This foundation could be the source of criteria to discuss the levels of legitimation and prioritization between stakeholders´ interests, especially when those interests collide.

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Abbreviations

CA:

Centesimus annus

CSDC:

Compendium of the social doctrine of the Church

CST:

Catholic social thought

CV:

Caritas in veritate

EG:

Evangelii gaudium

GS:

Gaudium et spes

LS:

Laudato Si

MM:

Mater et magistra

PCJP:

Pontifical council for justice and peace

PP:

Populorum progressio

PT:

Pacem in terris

RN:

Rerum novarum

ST:

Stakeholder theory

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Correspondence to Ricardo Aguado.

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Retolaza, J.L., Aguado, R. & Alcaniz, L. Stakeholder Theory Through the Lenses of Catholic Social Thought. J Bus Ethics 157, 969–980 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-018-3963-6

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Keywords

  • Stakeholder theory
  • Catholic Social Thought
  • Theory of the firm
  • Purpose of the firm
  • Spirituality
  • Religion