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Difference Between Shareholders and Stakeholders with Comparison Chart

Not only business doing entity have stakeholders, but every organization irrespective of its size, nature, and structure are accountable to Stakeholders. Shareholder is a person, who has invested money in the business by purchasing shares of the concerned enterprise. On the other hand, stakeholder implies the party whose interest is directly or indirectly affected by the company’s actions. The scope of stakeholders is wider than that of the shareholder, in the sense that the latter is a part of the former.

The stakeholder group is a significantly broader category than shareholders. Shareholders are always stakeholders, but stakeholders aren’t necessarily shareholders. Stakeholders are usually in the game for the long haul and have the most desire for a company to succeed, not just in terms of stock performance. It could be held in a personal portfolio, an IRA, a 401k plan, or some other tax-advantaged savings plan. Employees who purchase shares with a stock option are one example where both classifications would apply. Therefore, the best theory for you and your company or project is dependent on what your main interests are.

But stakeholders can be more than just team members who work on a project together. For example, shareholders can be stakeholders of your project if the outcome will impact stock prices. Depending on the type of shares you own, being a shareholder lets you receive dividends, vote on company policies like mergers and acquisitions, and elect members of the company’s board of directors. Anyone who owns common stock in a company can vote, but the number of shares you own dictates how much power your vote carries. That means big investors hold the most sway over a company’s overall strategic plan. In conclusion, we can say that the key difference between shareholders and stakeholders is in their legal status.

Difference Between Stakeholders and Stockholders

It can be said that stockholders are always stakeholders in a company, but stakeholders are not always stockholders. Every company raises capital from the market by issuing shares to the general public. The shareholder is the person who has bought the shares of the company either from the primary market or secondary market, after which he has got the legal part ownership in the capital of the company. Share Certificate is given to every individual shareholder for the number of shares held by him. It’s a business ethics and organizational management theory that maintains that businesses, to be successful, must create value for all of its stakeholders, not just shareholders. For internal stakeholders, they are important because the business’s operations rely on their ability to work together toward the business’s goals.

Stakeholders tend to hold longer relationships with the company, like the employees, bondholders, and shareholders. They exert a longer relationship with the company and are affected by the actions of that organization. For example, if a company is performing poorly financially, the vendors in that company’s supply chain might suffer if the company limits production and no longer uses its services. However, shareholders of the company can sell their stock and limit their losses. A common problem that arises for companies with numerous stakeholders is that the various stakeholder interests may not align.

  • Shareholders include equity shareholders and preference shareholders in the company.
  • Examples of other stakeholders include employees, customers, suppliers, governments, and the public at large.
  • It can even be invested in other organizations, some of which could be in competition with the other.
  • Moreover, shareholders are stakeholders of a business as they have a vested interest in the company and the business’ performance directly affects them.

But it’s most likely that you’ll proceed with a hybrid, as both theories serve different aspects of the business. For example, a shareholder is always a stakeholder in a corporation, but a stakeholder is not always a shareholder. The distinction lies in their relationship to the corporation and their priorities. Different priorities and levels of authority require different approaches in formality, communication and reporting. So the relationship between companies and stakeholders is often more complicated.

Civic leaders want the company to remain an employer of the area’s residents and to contribute to tax revenue. Stakeholder management is a process that happens throughout the duration of the project, not just in the beginning stages. In the end, you don’t want to spend time and resources on a project that’s likely to be shut down because of, say, environmentalists lobbying against it because of its potentially negative impact on the environment.

What Are Stakeholders: Definition, Types, and Examples

Because shares of stock are easily sold, stakeholders’ interests in a company are often more complex, as it’s generally easier for a shareholder to cut ties with a company than a stakeholder. Although stakeholders do not have a direct relationship with the company, they may be affected by the company’s actions or performance. Shareholders are stakeholders of a business as they have a vested interest in the company and are affected by its business performance. He might have owned shares in CITGO, but at 11 years old he probably wasn’t a key stakeholder for any major project teams.

Shares represent a portion of ownership in a company, and shareholders are entitled to a share of the company’s profits or losses. Stakeholders are important as they can have a positive and negative influence on the company, and their support is pivotal for the project of the company to exist. As mentioned before, stakeholders can make the company’s decision because their creativity and understanding are paramount in ensuring the success of ongoing and new projects. Stakeholders also provide constant criticism to fix any flaw in the company and create room for creativity by allowing the people to give their opinions regarding the operations. Shareholders focus mainly on the financial return on their investments, whether in the form of dividends or stock appreciation.

That’s not so easy a question to answer, and one that has been debated forever by business analysts. Should businesses be solely focused on increasing profits or do they have an ethical responsibility to the environment? These two paths are called the shareholder theory and the stakeholder theory. Shareholders are a subset of the larger stakeholders’ grouping but don’t take part in the day-to-day operations of the company or project.

This includes shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, creditors, and even the community where the business is located. While shareholders are stakeholders, payroll deductions are not all stakeholders are shareholders. A shareholder also known as a stockholder is an individual or organization that owns shares in a company.

Editorial integrity

Stakeholders usually want a company to succeed, but for reasons that can be more complex than its share price. Stakeholders are individuals, groups, or organizations that have a vested interest in a business and can affect and be affected by the business operations and performance. A stakeholder is someone who can impact or be impacted by a project you’re working on. We usually talk about stakeholders in the context of project management, because you need to understand who’s involved in your project in order to effectively collaborate and get work done.

Stakeholders vs. shareholders: What’s the difference?

In most cases, the majority interest stays with the founder of the company or the family of the founder. Stockholders are individuals, firms, or institutions that invest money in a company or organization to buy and own shares and stocks of that company. The difference between a Stockholder and a Stakeholder is that in terms of business, every Stockholder is a Stakeholder. Stockholders can also transfer their interests by simply selling their stocks. On the other hand, Stakeholders tend to hold longer relationships with the company, like the employees.

Stakeholder is a broader category that refers to all parties with an interest in a company’s success. Thus, shareholders are always stakeholders, but stakeholders are not always shareholders. Employees are stakeholders in a business, since they are impacted by its decisions and actions.

Also, the only financial risk that stockholders face is the loss of money they invested in the company because they are not personally accountable for the debts and the responsibilities of the company. Stakeholders in a company include its employees, board members, suppliers, distributors, governments, and sometimes even members of the community where a business is operating. Employees and board members are internal stakeholders because they have a direct relationship with the company. Distributors and community members, however, are examples of external stakeholders.

But a stakeholder’s relationship with a company can be more complex than that of a shareholder. Stakeholders can be company employees, suppliers, vendors, customers and even the local community. The first thing to know is that shareholders are always stakeholders because their success depends on the company’s success. While stakeholders may also succeed due to the company, they aren’t always shareholders because they may not own stock.

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