How to Compare Shareholder's & Stakeholder's Models

by Amanda L. Webster, studioD

Shareholders include those individuals and entities who own a share in a corporation. Stakeholders include all individuals and entities, including shareholders, who are affected by the activities of the organization. Stakeholders include employees, vendors, customers and the community at large. It is important to understand the differences and similarities between shareholder's and stakeholder's models for a variety of reasons. For example, managers must determine which model is appropriate for achieving the mission of the organization. Additionally, investors may base their decision to purchase the stock of a particular company based on the extent to which the company values investors versus other stakeholders.

Note the differences between shareholder's and stakeholder's models. Using your pen and paper, create a list of the areas in which the two models differ. For example, the shareholder model measures success according to the amount of profits made for company owners, while the stakeholder model tends to value the satisfaction of all stakeholders equally.

Detail the similarities between shareholder's and stakeholder's models. For example, organizational leaders consider the needs of shareholders in both models. Profitability is often important to both models, as no stakeholder may benefit from the failure of the company.

Create a list of organizations that you can analyze to determine which model each follows. Analyzing real-life companies can help improve your understanding of the two models. Start with well-known companies that maintain public documentation of their business practices, including annual reports and Web pages detailing the companies' corporate social responsibility programs. Choose a few companies that are obviously either stakeholder or shareholder influenced. For example, you might choose a company that sells products that are intrinsically harmful to stakeholders, such as a tobacco company. Conversely, you might choose another company whose mission is to benefit the environment or help needy children. You should also choose several companies whose focus isn't so obvious.

Compare and contrast each organization to determine whether they adhere to the shareholder's model or the stakeholder's model. Evaluate whether each organization values the interests of shareholders above all others and vice versa. For example, identify whether organizational leaders place greater emphasis on profitability or responsibility. The shareholder model focuses organizational activities on creating the greatest amount of profit for company owners. The stakeholder model focuses on developing business practices that benefit all stakeholders.

Consider how organizational leaders in each example might balance the needs of stakeholders with those of shareholders. It is essential to remember that the organization must profit in order to remain in existence. In many cases, companies may benefit all stakeholders, including shareholders by maintaining profitability for shareholders.

Items you will need

  • Pen
  • Paper

About the Author

Amanda L. Webster has a Master of Science in business management and a Master of Arts in English with a concentration in professional writing. She teaches a variety of business and communication courses within the Wisconsin Technical College System and works as a writer specializing in online business communications and social media marketing.

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