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Feminist Ethics as Moral Grounding for Stakeholder Theory 1


Stakeholder theory, as a method of management based on morals and behavior, must be grounded by a theory of ethics. However, traditional ethics of justice and rights cannot completely ground the theory. Following and expanding on the work of Wicks, Gilbert, and Freeman (1994), we believe that feminist ethics, invoking principles of caring, provides the missing element that allows moral theory to ground the stakeholder approach to management. Examples are given to support the suggested general principle for making business decisions under feminist moral theory.

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J.R. Boatright 1994. “What so Special About Shareholders?Business Ethics Quarterly, 4: 393407.

J. Cottingham 1983. “Ethics and Impartiality.Philosophical Studies, 43: 8399.

J. Cottingham 1986. “Partiality, Favouritism, and Morality.Philosophical Quarterly, 36: 357373.

R.E. Freeman and D.R. Gilbert Jr. 1992. “Business, Ethics and Society: A Critical Agenda.Business & Society, 31 (1): 917.

K.E. Goodpaster 1991. “Business Ethics and Stakeholder Analysis.Business Ethics Quarterly, 1: 5373.

M.C. Jensen and W.H. Meckling 1976. “Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Costs and Ownership Structure.Journal of Financial Economics, 3: 305360.

A. Oldenquist 1982. “Loyalties.Journal of Philosophy, 79: 173193.

C.R. Schwenk 1984. “Cognitive Simplification Processes in Strategic Decisionmaking.Strategic Management Journal, 5: 111128.

A.C. Wicks , D.R. Gilbert Jr., and R.E. Freeman 1994. “A Feminist Reinterpre tation of The Stakeholder Concept.Business Ethics Quarterly, 4: 475497.

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Business Ethics Quarterly
  • ISSN: 1052-150X
  • EISSN: 2153-3326
  • URL: /core/journals/business-ethics-quarterly
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