Stakeholder value in South Africa : an empirical study
Bosman, Pieter Willem
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It is acknowledged that the primary objective of any company should be the creation of shareholder-value. However, it is also recognised that there are other stakeholders, with their own financial and/or non-financial objectives, which could impact on a company's overall financial performance. Management should therefore identify stakeholder-groups which could impact on the company and formulate a model in addressing their objectives. This study integrates elements from the theory of shareholder-value, the agency-theory, the theory of property rights and different stakeholder orientation-models to develop the approach of responsible stakeholder-management in the creation of shareholder-value. Stakeholders can be grouped into economic, social and environmental components. The concept of sustainable development has exploded in recent years. Three main elements of sustainable development were identified, namely economic, social and environmental development, referred to as "Triple Bottom Line (TBL)". Several organisations have started focussing on the concept of sustainability by guiding the development of sustainability policies. However, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has become the de facto global standard for reporting on sustainable development. The concept of TBL, and how the three elements of sustainability could contribute to the maximisation of shareholder-value, is discussed. The results of the empirical study, where the financial performance and shareholder-growth of companies listed on the JSE and which adopted and reported on the GRI-guidelines, were compared to a group of companies in the same index grouping of the JSE that had not formally adopted and reported on the guidelines, identified a clear trend that those reporting on their sustainability policies had had a much better growth in five of the six financial measures used than the comparative group.