Stakeholders and their information needs Different stakeholders have different information needs,…
Stakeholders and their information needs Different stakeholders have different information needs, but who is entitled to what information, and why? Let’s explore a few examples.
Should investors receive information about the financial performance of the organisation they have invested in? Investors would expect to be provided with enough information to monitor their investment, and hence they have a reasonable right to know about an organisation’s financial performance. Further, it might be difficult for an organisation to attract new investors if they are unwilling to provide enough information for those investors to determine if an investment would be worthwhile! Regardless, in this case, managers and organisations – particularly larger ones – do not have a choice when it comes to providing information about financial performance. In most jurisdictions, there are laws requiring that information about an organisation’s financial performance and position be provided to investors.
Should competitors receive information about the organisation’s financial performance? Most managers would probably prefer not to disclose financial information to a competitor because this could result in competitive disadvantage. As managers are not legally required to share this information with competitors, it’s sensible to assume that this information would not be disclosed.
Should local residents receive information about the chemicals being released into the air by an organisation operating within their community? It is reasonable to suggest that local residents have a right to know about the chemicals being released by an organisation in their community. In the absence of regulations that require disclosure, whether or not management elects to provide this information will really be up to the managers’ judgement. This will depend on whether they believe they have a responsibility to do so, or whether they believe there is a benefit to the organisation in doing so. Different managers will have different opinions about the responsibility to provide information about environmental performance to local residents.
Should employees be provided with information about how much money is being spent by their organisation on training? It would also be reasonable to suggest that employees have a right to know about the extent to which their employer is supporting different training initiatives. Again, whether management elects to provide the information will depend upon whether they believe they have a responsibility to do so, or whether there are rules which require them to make such disclosures.