Stakeholder theory as a way of seeing old things in a new light

We have a host of big American companies that are doing it right from the standpoint of all their constituents–customers, employees, shareholders, and the public at large. They’ve been doing it right for years. We have simply not paid enough attention to their example. Nor have we attempted to analyze the degree to which what they instinctively do is fully consistent with sound theory.

–Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies (New York, NY: Warner Books, 1983), XX.