The stakeholder concept derives from a simple premise: organizations and technologies exist in constellations of relationships. Organizations operate in a network of market and nonmarket relationships with other organizations, groups, and individuals. Likewise technologies emerge and exist in a network of suppliers, end users, and others who bear the impact of the technology. Generally with reference to both organizations and technologies, these related parties are termed stakeholders, meaning that they hold a stake in the outcomes of the organization or technology.
From Ethics, Science, Technology, and Engineering: An International Resource (ESTE1), 1E. © 2005 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, Inc. Reproduced by permission. www.cengage.com/permissions
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Johnson-Cramer, M., and Robert A. Phillips. "Stakeholders." In Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, edited by Carl Mitcham, 1853-1855. Vol. 4. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005.