Stakeholder Theory

Thomas W. Dunfee

in The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780199211593
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

Stakeholder Theory

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  • Business and Management
  • Business Strategy
  • Business Ethics



This article provides a basic understanding of stakeholder thinking, arguably one of the very few theoretical frameworks generated by the corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature itself, to explore the management challenges of CSR. It considers the role of the stakeholder concept in helping managers make decisions allocating spending on discretionary social responsibility. Here, the focus is on CSR defined as discretionary spending in furtherance of an explicit measurable social objective consistent with relevant social norms and laws. This article introduces the concept of discretionary corporate social responsibility (dCSR) which involves voluntary spending on explicit social objectives consistent with societal expectations. The dCSR concept is justified as a proper and legitimate business investment based on supportive social political norms and supportive laws in most developed countries.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; stakeholder concept; business investment; social political norms; supportive laws

Article.  7307 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Business Strategy ; Business Ethics

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