Valuing stakeholders and credible CSR
Value creation stakeholder accounting
Few management concepts are more influential in the corporate responsibility field than stakeholder theory and few management journals more august than the Journal of Management Studies. Which is why a special issue on the subject of accounting for stakeholders in all their fangled guises (i.e. not just shareholders) marks a remarkable development for the academic mainstream. The theoretical scope of this fascinating compendium ranges from monetising stakeholder claims (a combination of time, security and priority) and defining social return on investment through to critiquing the public accounting profession and analysing how managers should capture stakeholder voices in accounting system recording.
Setting the tone and direction of the special issue is the introductory article, whose co-authors include Edward Freeman, the widely cited pioneer of stakeholder theory. This opening paper is nothing if not ambitious. Essentially, Freeman and his colleagues are setting about rewriting global financial accounting norms. Their purpose: to develop a system that more accurately captures the value creation that an inclusive approach to stakeholder-led management provides. This effort is as necessary as it is bold. The authors’ conviction is that accounting is not ultimately about looking backwards to what has happened in a firm, but setting...