Stakeholder Theory - What's Next for Stakeholder Theory?

Stakeholder theory has been a focal point for many discussions in the world of business and management. But where is it headed next?
Watch Professor Thomas M. Jones discuss what is next for Stakeholder Theory and why study of stakeholder relationships is key in for a successful business.
A screenshot of Professor Thomas Jones's video interview
A closer look suggests that the future of stakeholder theory lies in a deeper, richer exploration of relationships. It's not just about who the stakeholders are, but how those relationships can be strengthened, made more meaningful, and more beneficial for all parties involved. What are the elements that make these partnerships more fulfilling both morally and economically? That's the pressing question.

We are on the cusp of a new era where the emphasis is squarely on understanding and nurturing these relationships. Recognizing the potential of healthy stakeholder relationships, there's a push to make their significance clear and pronounced. The ultimate goal? To transform the very practice of management, making it more aligned with the needs and aspirations of every stakeholder.

To achieve this, one must first identify the right behaviors and actions. Being part of a stakeholder relationship isn't just about participating; it's about adhering to a set of values and principles that make the relationship fruitful. The moral dimension of these interactions cannot be stressed enough.

While there has been substantial debate on defining who exactly is a stakeholder, it seems that this topic has already been extensively discussed. The focus now should be less on this debate and more on nurturing existing relationships and understanding their intricate dynamics.

In essence, the future of stakeholder theory is about building stronger bridges, fostering understanding, and ensuring that every relationship is anchored in mutual respect and shared goals.

Thomas M. Jones - video

Professor Thomas M. Jones has published many articles in academic journals. His research interests include stakeholder theory, business ethics, corporate social performance and corporate governance. He is the Chairman of the Management and organization Department and the Boeing Endowed Professor

What is next for Stakeholder Theory - Video transcript

Let me answer your question partially by explaining where I think the productive part of stakeholder theory is going to go and that is into...more into richer more indepth examinations of those relationships, and what makes them work better, what's more morally gratifying, what's more economically gratifying.

How can those relationships work better?

I think we are at, sort of, the threshold in some sense of focussing on those relationships and making, making it clearer, increasingly clear, that...that that's a productive enterprise, and I think the more that that can be done the greater the impact on the actual practice of management is likely to be.

in otherwords, say, here is a way that something that can be done better and here is the way you have to behave in order to make that work.

These are the kinds of relationships you have to establish...if you are going to be in those relationships you have to behave in a certain way, and the moral component of that to me is clear.

but and I think that is where the most important work is most likely to go.

Deciding who is a stakeholder, who is's a question that's been beaten to death and I think some good words have been said on it fairly recently and umm..more work in that area not so terribly important.

Stakeholder Theory resources