Toward an Agreement

Euromed Marseille Ecole de Management Paper No. 11-2004

15 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2004

Date Written: February 2004


In an article published in October 2001, Jensen highlights the operational limitations of the prevailing interpretation/use made of value maximisation and the stakeholder theory. Without it being explicitly stated, it seems that the recent financial scandals may have a bearing on the desire to explain the operating conditions proposed by these two theories, which are, in some ways, competing, and in others, complementary.

On the one hand, it is argued that value maximisation for the shareholder, with all of problems in terms of monitoring this entails, is the best way to attain social welfare in a market economy; on the other hand, stakeholder theory stresses the need to take into account the interests of all of the stakeholders in a firm, including the customers, all of the suppliers, and the employees. According to Jensen, the complementarity of the two theories stems from the need to understand value maximisation from a collective point of view: social welfare is only achieved when, on the one hand, all of the value contributed by each of the stakeholders is maximised, and on the other, this maximisation of value occurs over the long term. The firm is therefore recognised as a historical and complex organisation.

However, an operational problem arises if managers are expected to maximise value thus defined in that there is no reason why the objectives of the various stakeholders should coincide. This criticism is valid both from the point of view of value maximisation (how can several objectives be managed simultaneously?) and that of stakeholder theory (how is a common objective to be defined?).

This article sets out to propose a contribution on the way to build the necessary agreement between stakeholder, based on the - economie des conventions (Salais).

Note: Downloadable document is in French.

Keywords: accord, coordination, evaluation, agreement, shareholder monitoring, stakholder coordination

JEL Classification: D3, G3

Suggested Citation

Paranque, Bernard, Toward an Agreement (February 2004). Euromed Marseille Ecole de Management Paper No. 11-2004, Available at SSRN: or

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