R. Edward Freeman

R. Edward Freeman

University Professor
Elis and Signe Olsson Professor of Business Administration
Distinguished Professor of Business Administration


FOB 164

Areas of Expertise

Stakeholder Management, Leadership, Business Ethics, Corporate Responsibility, Business Strategy, Stakeholder Capitalism

Education: B.A., Duke University; Ph.D., Washington University

R. Edward Freeman is University Professor and Olsson Professor of Business Administration, and an academic director of the Institute for Business in Society at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. He is also adjunct professor of stakeholder management at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, visiting professor at Nyenrode Business School (Netherlands), adjunct professor of management at Monash University (Melbourne). He has held honorary appointments as the Welling Professor at George Washington University and the Gourlay Professorship at University of Melbourne. Prior to coming to the Darden School, Freeman taught at University of Minnesota and the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Freeman is the co-author of Defeating Dengue: A Multi-Stakeholder Approach to Problem Solving (Columbia University Press, 2024), The Power Of And: Responsible Business Without Tradeoffs (Columbia University Press, 2020); Models of Leadership in Plato and Beyond (Oxford University Press, 2021); Stakeholder Theory: The State of the Art (Cambridge, 2010); and Managing for Stakeholders (Yale, 2007). He is the author or editor of over 100 volumes and 200 articles in the areas of stakeholder management, business strategy and business ethics. Freeman is perhaps best known for his award winning book: Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach (Cambridge, 2010), originally published in 1984, in which he traced the origins of the stakeholder idea to a number of others and suggested that businesses build their strategy around their relationships with key stakeholders. He was the editor of the Ruffin Series in Business Ethics (15 volumes) published by Oxford. He is the co-editor with Mette Morsing and Jeremy Moon of the Cambridge Series Business, Society and Value Creation (15 volumes), and he served as Co-editor in Chief with Michelle Greenwood of the Journal of Business Ethics for 5 years (35 volumes).

Freeman has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Washington University and a B.A. in mathematics and philosophy from Duke University. He was recently awarded seven honorary doctorates (DHC) - in economics from Comillas University in Madrid, the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, and Leuphana University in Germany; in management from Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands, from Sherbrooke University in Canada, HEC Paris in France, and from Tampere University in Finland for his work on stakeholder theory and business ethics. Throughout his career, he has received a number of teaching awards from the Wharton School, the Carlson School, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, the State of Virginia and the Academy of Management. He has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the World Resources Institute and Aspen Institute, the Humboldt University Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility, the Academy of Management and the Society for Business Ethics. He has worked with many executives and companies around the world, and his writing on stakeholder theory has been translated into many languages.  

Freeman is a lifelong student of philosophy, martial arts and the blues. He is a co-principal in Stakeholder Media LLC and host of The Stakeholder Podcast at https://stakeholdermedia.libsyn.com/


Selected Publications

Freeman, R. Edward, L. Dunham, G. Fairchild, and B. Parmar. "Leveraging the Creative Arts in Business Ethics Teaching." Journal of Business Ethics, forthcoming. 

Freeman, R. Edward and Robert Strand. "Scandinavian Cooperative Advantage: Theory & Practice of Stakeholder Engagement in Scandinavia." Journal of Business Ethics, forthcoming.

Freeman, R. Edward, J. Hoerisch, and S. Schaltegger. "Applying Stakeholder Theory in Sustainability Management." Organizations and Environment, (2014).

Freeman, R. Edward and M.E. Haskins. "A Step-by-Step Process for Transforming Contentious Disagreements into Creative Collaboration."  Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 42(3), (2014), 15-22.

Auster, Ellen R. and R. Edward Freeman. "Values and Poetic Organizations: Beyond Value Fit Toward Values Through Conversation."  Journal of Business Ethics,  Vol. 113.1, (2012), 39-49.

Freeman, R. Edward and Lauren Purnell. "Stakeholder Theory, Fact/Value Dichotomy & The Normative Core: How Wall Street Stops the Ethics Conversation."  Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 109(1), (2012), 109-116.


Selected Books

Scott, Dominic and R. Edward Freeman. Models of Leadership in Plato and Beyond. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021.

Freeman, R. Edward, Kirsten Martin, and Bidhan Parmar. The Power of And: Responsible Business Without Tradeoffs. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020.

Freeman, R. Edward and Ellen Auster. Bridging the Value Gap. San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler, 2015.

Freeman, R. Edward and Robert A. Phillips, ed. Stakeholders. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2010.

Freeman, R. Edward, J.S. Harrison, A.C. Wicks, B.L. Parmar and S. de Colle. Stakeholder Theory: The State of the Art.  Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Freeman, R. Edward.  Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach. Boston: Pitman (Harper and Row), 1984. Re-Issued by Cambridge University Press, 2010.


Case Studies

Advancing knowledge through research that shapes business, Darden professors are recognized thought leaders in their fields. They are not only master case method teachers, they also author many of the cases used in Darden classrooms and around the world.

R. Edward Freeman's cases are available in the Darden Business Publishing website.