Applied Vedanta Philosophy
Stakeholder Theory as conceived by R. Edward Freeman (1984) seeks to align the interests of a wider range of stakeholder groups in a unified endeavor for value creation. The Stakeholder Theory framework is proposed here as a guideline for managers that fosters responsible interaction with their direct and indirect stakeholders. However, in an environment of constant change and volatile conditions, it seems more difficult than ever for managers and their stakeholders to consistently align personal values with actual business activities. Vedanta, an ancient Indian wisdom, is therefore introduced. In the world of Vedanta, this gap between personal values and actual behavior is attributed to a lack of wisdom. Wisdom in Vedanta is attained through spiritual practice, which aims at the individual development of the personality, from selfishness to unselfishness to selflessness. Self-transformation is the prerequisite for overcoming adversity and for adopting a more caring attitude toward other beings and the environment. Applied to the business context, self-development will manifest itself in (financially) successful business endeavors, whose success is evaluated on the basis of good conduct rather than profits generated at the expense of other people and the natural environment.