My question to Ed Freeman was
“In your book “Managing for Stakeholders”, you write about a technique for managing your stakeholders “to convince the group to want the same thing as the firm”. My question for you is “In the internet age where companies in power can control what gets media attention and what consumers believe, is this an ethical strategy for businesses to implement?”
For some background on why I asked the question, I want to first explain what I thought when I read that passage from Ed Freeman’s book. My interpretation of this was that whatever goals a company has, whether they are to brainwash consumers into buying their products, or sending false information into the press to ignore the environment, etc. When I thought about companies convincing stakeholders to want the same thing as the firm wants, I tend to think of negative examples.
However, the example that Ed Freeman gave suggested a much different approach to this strategy. He believed that Amazon recommending a book that he ended up enjoying was a good example of this strategy being correctly implemented. He also went on to say that the “getting stakeholders on-board” strategy is meant to help stakeholders realize that the company’s goals are in the stakeholders’ best interest as well. This places the responsibility on the company to make decisions that will benefit stakeholders. Although I do not know whether Ed Freeman has clearly explained how companies can make decisions that are in the best interest of the stakeholder, I do think that; if possible, it would be acceptable “to convince the group to want the same thing as the firm”