Almost 40 years ago, I developed the "stakeholder" theory for businesses. This considers the enterprise as a community, with a number of social groups connected directly or indirectly to the enterprise which are dependent on its success and prosperity. These of course include shareholders and creditors; but employees, customers, suppliers, the state and the society in which the enterprise is active are stakeholders. According to the stakeholder approach, the management of the enterprise acts as a trustee for all stakeholders . . . based on the principle that each individual is embedded in societal communities in which the common good can only be promoted through the interaction of all participants – and business success is also embedded in this interaction.
We have witnessed a gradual erosion of this communitarian spirit over recent years. This erosion of societal values has progressed particularly in the business world, and is also one of the primary reasons of the current economic crisis.