Stakeholders are individuals, groups, or organizations who are affected by the consequences and outcomes of decisions. Internal stakeholders (also known as primary stakeholders) are those within an organization with an interest in its success and failure, since they may be rewarded or punished accordingly. Employees, managers, corporate leaders, and owners/stockholders are examples of internal stakeholders.
Internal stakeholders stand in contrast to external ones such as suppliers, customers, governments, and communities. Each stakeholder has its own set of priorities and values, which may either overlap or conflict with those of other stakeholders. For internal stakeholders, the continuance and success of the organization is the paramount concern. Other interests may vary between the different types of internal stakeholders. For example, employees may be most concerned about such things as job security, pay and benefits, rewards and recognition, while stockholders care most about business growth, share price, and profitability. On occasion, doing what is best for one group may be detrimental to another, and in such instances ethical judgment can come into play.
Internal stakeholders can influence both the ethical standards of an organization and the extent to which they are followed. Increasingly, corporations are motivated to become more socially responsible because their internal stakeholders expect them to understand and address relevant social and community issues. Understanding what social causes are important to employees and acting on them can produce benefits including increased employee engagement and satisfaction, higher performance, and improved retention.