This video presents a debate about the ethical responsibilities of businesses and their managers. In particular, the discussion is focused on the conflict between the interests of shareholders and stakeholders (“Stakeholders vs. Shareholders”). The participants advance different arguments about the way in which enterprises should approach their obligations. Overall, it seems that the recognition of stakeholders’ needs is essential for the sustainable development of companies.
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This conflict is closely related to the functions that businesses are expected to perform. Firstly, these organizations are supposed to increase their revenues and benefit shareholders or owners. However, there is an alternative viewpoint according to which managers should take into account the interests of stakeholders or various individuals and groups that may be affected by the work of businesses. For instance, it is possible to consider the needs of workers, customers, communities, trade unions, and so forth.
The key issue is that the concept of a stakeholder does not exclude the owners of a business. In this case, managers are not required to disregard such issues as financial performance and revenues. Nevertheless, they have to ensure that their activities do not pose a threat to other people and their interests. For example, in some cases, the work of enterprises can endanger the environment (The Saylor Foundation 628). If these risks are overlooked, companies can threaten the welfare of many communities. Moreover, this reckless approach can destroy the economic resources that these organizations need.
To some degree, this discussion indicates that the emphasis on stakeholders’ needs is critical for ensuring that the work of companies does not threaten the welfare of society. This approach does not force businesses to reject such priorities as financial performance and the needs of owners. More likely, it emphasizes the necessity to introduce safeguards reducing the risk of unethical practices that harm other people.
“Stakeholders vs. Shareholders”: Haas Faculty Debate “Whom Exactly Should Business Serve?” YouTube, uploaded by Berkeley Haas. 2010. Web.
The Saylor Foundation. “What is Business Ethics?” Saylor. Web.