Shareholder vs Stakeholder: Whats the Difference? 2023

Stakeholders are often more invested in the long-term impacts and success of a company. Shareholders and stakeholders also have different timelines for achieving their goals. Shareholders are part owners of the company only as long as they own stock, so they’re usually focused more on short-term goals that influence a company’s share prices. That means your organization’s long-term success isn’t always their top priority, because they can easily sell their stocks and buy shares from another company if they want to. The terms shareholder and stakeholder are sometimes used interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different.

A shareholder (also known as a stockholder) is someone who owns shares of a company. Shares represent a small piece of ownership in an organization—so if you open a brokerage account and buy shares of a company, you essentially own a portion of it. Although shareholders are owners of the company, they are not liable for the company’s debts or other arising financial obligations.

Shareholder theory vs. stakeholder theory

They ensure that the organizational work environment remains dynamic, stimulating, and rewarding and there are good working conditions available in the organization so that the organization can perform well. This theory stands in contrast to the more traditional view that companies have a duty to a wide range of entities, including employees, customers, and the community. Just as investors look to balance and diversify their portfolios to maximize capital, companies benefit from balancing financial goals with business ethics. With project management software, you also have a central workspace for updates. Plus, built-in visual timeline tools such as Gantt charts make it easy to get everyone on the same page.

Stakeholders sometimes also have shares in the company, as in the case of employee shareholders. Shareholders own part of the business, determined by the number of shares they own. A majority shareholder is an individual or entity owning at least 50% of the company’s outstanding shares. “Shareholders” and “stakeholders” are two terms within project management that sound similar but have very different meanings.

  • If the business has loans or debts outstanding, then creditors (e.g., banks or bondholders) will be the second set of stakeholders in the business.
  • Now that you know the difference, how about a bridge that connects the two?
  • These opponents or enemies may have the power to bring an activity to a halt or to prohibit an activity being started.
  • Stakeholder theory was first put forth by Dr. Edward Freeman in the 1980s.
  • So stakeholders include shareholders, but also a wider range of individuals and organisations.

Stakeholders are individuals, groups or any party that has an interest in the outcomes of an organization. Stakeholders can be internal or external and range from customers, shareholders to communities and even governments. So stakeholders include shareholders, but also a wider range of individuals and organisations. Whether we’re talking about project management specifically or your organization as a whole, it’s a good idea to practice stakeholder management and constantly communicate with stakeholders to collaborate effectively. The money that is invested in a company by shareholders can be withdrawn for a profit. It can even be invested in other organizations, some of which could be in competition with the other.

ProjectManager Satisfies Stakeholders and Shareholders

Company health, market share, management direction and environmental responsibility are a few of them. In essence, the stakeholder concept argues that the purpose of a business is to create value for stakeholders not just shareholders. The stakeholder concept argues that businesses should take account of its responsibilities to stakeholders rather than just focus on shareholders. Namely, shareholders care about the success or failure of significant projects as well as the financial returns a project may bring as they have an interest in the company. Shareholders of a publicly-traded company are considered owners, although they are not responsible for the debts.

Key Differences Between Stakeholders and Shareholders

Share Certificate is given to every individual shareholder for the number of shares held by him. Stakeholders and shareholders may have conflicting interests, but the two sides don’t have to be at odds. Making money for shareholders may be priority number one for most corporations, but stakeholder issues affect that profitability. According to stakeholder capitalism, everything a corporation does must align with ethical, social and practical directives. However, it’s fair to say that for the vast majority of corporations, shareholder theory is much higher in mind. Shareholders provide the funds that allow companies to invest and innovate, while stakeholders have a stake in the company’s long-term performance.

Difference Between Shareholder and Investor

Under CSR governance, the general public is now considered an external stakeholder. Shareholders are always stakeholders in a corporation, but stakeholders are not always shareholders. A shareholder owns part of a public company through shares of stock, while a stakeholder has an interest in the performance of a company for reasons other than stock performance or appreciation. (They have a “stake” payroll taxes and employer responsibilities in its success or failure.) As a result, the stakeholder has a greater need for the company to succeed over the longer term. A stakeholder can be an individual, group, or organization having an underlying interest or concern in an organization’s business operations. The business operations, policies, and objectives of an organization can affect or be affected by the same stakeholders.

Shareholder vs. Stakeholder: An Overview

Thus all shareholders classify as investors as they are putting their money in shares of a company expecting growth and better returns. The “stakeholder theory” in the “stakeholder model” considers parties affected by an organization. Therefore, it can be clear from the above discussion that shareholder and stakeholder are two different terms. Shareholders are just the legal owners of the company, who have got the ownership by purchasing the shares of the company. Stakeholders is a little bigger term than Shareholders, which includes all those factors which have an affect on the business. Not only business doing entity have stakeholders, but every organization irrespective of its size, nature, and structure are accountable to Stakeholders.

Also, management is to ensure that the supplier of a product which is covered under regulations from statutory authority follows the specific regulations. Then there can be supplies which are covered by patents or may include policies, procedures, and safeguards. Also, confidentiality clause may be a very important clause for some supplies. Management has to ensure through agreements that these requirements are fulfilled by the supplier. Organizational customers have a potential capacity to control the organization.

When the organization has only a few customers then it becomes easy for the customers to take charge of the organization thus limiting its independence. On the other hand, the organization which is having multiple customers is required to set priorities, balance conflicting demands, and maneuver so as to satisfy major groups of customers.

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The terms stakeholder and shareholder are sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably. Ultimately, a shared emphasis on individuals in both categories will safeguard the future, bringing focus as needed to innovation, product development, expansion, profitability, culture, company health, and more. Shareholders receive dividends while stakeholders do not traditionally receive dividends. Shareholders may have no legal obligation to a company while stakeholders may have contractual obligations.

Suppliers, creditors, and public groups are all considered external stakeholders. Because shareholders have invested money in exchange for a share or shares of the company’s stock, they have a financial interest in its profitability. This also means that shareholders have certain rights, including the right to vote on the company’s leadership. Now that you know the difference, how about a bridge that connects the two? Whether you’re managing stakeholders or shareholders, ProjectManager has you covered.

Directors, creditors, government institutions, and their agencies, employees, shareholders, debenture holders, suppliers, customers, competitors, vendors, etc., all are fine examples of key stakeholders. In this context, it can be appropriate to say that all shareholders are stakeholders, but all stakeholders are not shareholders. Examples of important stakeholders for a business include its shareholders, customers, suppliers, and employees. Some of these stakeholders, such as the shareholders and the employees, are internal to the business. Others, such as the business’s customers and suppliers, are external to the business but are nevertheless affected by the business’s actions. These days, it has become more common to talk about a broader range of external stakeholders, such as the government of the countries in which the business operates, or even the public at large.

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