Stakeholders, Value and Risks

juli 26th, 2014 · by John · Weblog EN

Every organization whether for-profit or not, exists to realize value for its stakeholders. Value is created (or destroyed) by management decisions in all activities, ranging from setting strategy to managing the daily operations of the enterprise. But value is at risk, and risks need to be managed in order to be able to create value.

Stakeholder Management

Value is what people value. It is what is important to them. In the traditional view of the firm, shareholders are the owners. The company therefore has a duty to put the shareholders’ needs first, and to create value for them. In the more modern view, an organization converts inputs of investors, employees and suppliers into outputs which customers buy, thereby returning capital benefit to the firm.

In this view a company has not only to take into account the interest of the shareholders, but it also has to create value for its employees, its suppliers and its customers. The stakeholder theory goes one step further and asserts that there are more parties involved, than the four mentioned above. All of them have an interest in the organization, and the company creates (or destroys) value for them.

A corporate stakeholder is a party that can affect or can be affected by the actions of an organization. Stakeholders are those groups without whose support the organization would cease to exist. The stakeholder concept has been broadened to include everyone with an interest (or “stake”) in what the entity does. Examples of stakeholders and their stakes are:

• Government: taxation, legislation, low unemployment and truthful reporting.
• Employees: pay rates, job security, compensation, respect and truthful communication.
• Customers: quality, customer care and ethical products.
• Suppliers: equitable business opportunities.
• Creditors: credit score, new contracts and liquidity.
• Community: jobs, involvement, environmental protection, shares and truthful communication.
• Trade Unions: quality, staff protection and jobs.
• Owner(s): success of the business.

Stakeholders can, either directly or indirectly have a strong influence on the objectives of an organization. They therefore are of prime importance in the business, as it is their stake in the enterprise which is at risk.

Value Creation

All entities exist to provide recognizable benefits for their stakeholders or, in other words to create value for them. Value is created if on balance, a stakeholder gets more of something she finds important. Value is created or destroyed by (management) decisions. Decisions entail the recognition of risk and opportunity and require that management considers information about the internal and external environment, deploys scarce resources and recalibrates activities to changing circumstances

Risk Management

Today’s business is constantly changing. It is unpredictable, volatile and seems to become more complex every day. By its very nature, it is fraught with risk. Organizations thus face uncertainty, and they are not able to precisely determine likelihood and impact of potential events. Events which could either destroy (risks) value of present opportunities to create value.

Risk Management enables management to deal with risks by reducing their likelihood or downside impact. It aims to protect the value already created by the organization, but also its future opportunities.

Historically, businesses have viewed risk as an evil that should be minimized or mitigated. In recent years, increased regulatory requirements have forced businesses to expend significant resources to address risk, and other stakeholders in turn have begun to scrutinize whether businesses have the right risk mitigation controls in place. In the current global economic environment, identifying, managing and exploiting risk across an organization has become increasingly important to the success and longevity of any business.

John Greijmans


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