Limited role of non-financial stakeholders?
Financial decisions (funding of firm's investments) interact with overall strategy of the firm. The role of stakeholders assumes significance since a firm continuously engages with its customers, suppliers, employees (including prospective ones), lenders and shareholders. Each of them having their own objective for being associated with the firm.
Customers expect the firm to service its product purchased while employees look at career growth. Vendors look to continue to supply so that they continue to have the firm as its customer while shareholders and lenders desire return on investment. None of the stakeholders would like to engage with a firm that is loss making or is highly leveraged (measured as Debt-equity ratio). This seems quite illogical atleast in case of equity shareholders or lenders who have put their own money into the business. For instance, in case of shareholders such a situation arises only when the cost of liquidation outscores the cost of running the firm.
Stakeholders can be categorized into two types- Financial and Non-financial. Financial stakeholders have access to financial information using which they take decisions to invest or withdraw from the firm (irrespective of the size of the firm). However, in case non-financial stakeholders access to financial information is limited. This is true, more in case of unlisted firms/SMEs. Hence, it can be reasoned logically that non-financial stakeholders have limited role in shaping the overall strategy of SMEs. In other words, managers of SMEs will be more focused on protecting interests of its financial stakeholders over its non-financials stakeholders. Is this true?
Alternatively, is it that managers of SMEs, unlike managers of large corporations, are far less constrained in their choice of financial decisions? But do they have enough options to chose from?