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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 28, Issue 1, Spring 2014

Anja Matwijkiw, Bronik Matwijkiw
Pages 125-154
DOI: 10.5840/ijap201451923

The Missing Link in Stakeholder Theory
A Philosophical Framework

The authors take a fresh look at the distinction between narrow and broad stakeholder theory, as represented by the business management models of Milton Friedman and R. Edward Freeman respectively. The main goal is a critical examination of the criteria and consequences of a practical application in the area of international law, a project that involves scrutinizing each version’s doctrinal assumptions as well as a comparative assessment. Emphasizing fundamental rights and corresponding duties, the starting point is that neither Friedman nor Freeman has a philosophically developed framework for the otherwise central value concepts. As regards economic/social rights, this results in a broad (stakeholder theory) defense that is as unsubstantiated as the attack which the narrow counterpart launches. However, once the Classical Choice Theory of Rights and the Modern Interest Theory of Rights are added to the case of Friedman versus Freeman, this can be adjudicated—using a number of different test procedures—in favor of a comprehensive typology of (civil/political and economic/social) rights and the Modern Interest Theory of Rights. In the course of adjudication, the authors also supplement the broad approach with a framework for needs that accords with Freeman’s proposed logic of value concepts.