Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach by R. Edward Freeman

credit: R. Edward Freeman

By: Evelyn Neis

Conscious Capitalism, Inc. became a formal organization in 2010.  A chronological history of the movement begins with a reference to the 1984 publishing of Freeman’s book, Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach.  Stakeholder Orientation is one of the four tenets of Conscious Capitalism. Per the Conscious Capitalism website, conscious businesses focus on their whole business ecosystem creating and optimizing value for all of their stakeholders, understanding that strong and engaged stakeholders lead to a healthy, sustainable, resilient business.

Freeman says, “This book is about a concept which begins to turn managerial energies in the right direction: the concept of ‘stakeholders’. Simply put, a stakeholder is any group or individual who can affect, or is affected by, the achievement of a corporation’s, or any business enterprise’s purpose. Stakeholders include employees, customers, suppliers, stockholders, banks, environmentalists, government and other groups who can help or hurt the corporation.”

In view of today’s constant and rapidly changing business environment, the suggestions on how to identify, analyze, implement strategic stakeholder management activities and review and monitor ongoing relationships is more important today than it was in 1984.

Many of the world’s most prestigious business thinkers have provided input and information which Freeman has summarized throughout the book. This book offers a wealth of information on how to build positive and lasting stakeholder relationships.  Think of an ala carte restaurant menu. The reader will be able to pick and choose from the many methods presented those that will work best for their business.

I recommend reading the book from cover to cover if your schedule will allow.  However, the author utilizes an elaborate table of contents which carefully outlines the topics covered in each of the three parts of the book. At the beginning of each part, he explains the purpose of the information provided and then further explains what information each chapter will provide. The reader can read the book from cover to cover and/or pick and choose the information that is most relevant to his/her business needs at this point in time.

A great reference book for anyone wishing to initiate a formal stakeholder relationship building project.

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