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Reasoning about Responsibilities: Mining Company Managers on What Stakeholders are Owed

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Stakeholder theories propose that managers are responsible not only for maximizing shareholder value, but also for taking into account the well being of other parties affected by corporate decisions. While the language of stakeholder theory has been taken up in industries like mining, controversy remains. Disagreements arise not only about the apportionment of costs and benefits among stakeholders, but about who counts as a stakeholder and about how "costs" and "benefits" are to be conceived. This paper investigates these questions empirically by examining how managers in one mining company talk about corporate responsibilities and by analysing the explicit and implicit values systems and moral logics which inform this talk. The investigations discovered that while some claims by stakeholder groups were readily accommodated by managers, others were not. Analysis of the value frameworks employed by the mangers confirms the views of leading stakeholder theorists that stakeholder theory is grounded in the realities of management practice and behaviour.

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Cragg, W., Greenbaum, A. Reasoning about Responsibilities: Mining Company Managers on What Stakeholders are Owed. Journal of Business Ethics 39, 319–335 (2002).

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