Organizing Ethics: A Stakeholder Debate1

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This article summarizes the development of the stakeholder concept in the last decade. The academic debate has been dominated over the last ten years by the managerial version of the stakeholder concept. The case of Shell in Ogoniland is elaborated to demonstrate that the managerial version does not pay sufficient respect to other interpretations of the concept. The article criticizes this dominant interpretation and argues for the need of an ongoing – academic and practical – debate on organizing and ethics. An ongoing “organizational stakeholder debate” is required. Social and ethical accounting, auditing, and reporting can be seen as one way to operationalize this notion of the "organizational debate", if it addresses the creation and diversity of moral meaning in the context of organizations.

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