To overcome stewardship theory’s liability of newness, we introduce a validated and reliable measure for stewardship. Using Dubin’s features of a theoretical model to position stewardship theory, we endeavour to take a structured approach in the Kuhn-characterised normal science stage of entrepreneurship. There is a danger that stewardship theory currently bears many of the hallmarks of a summative unit (in Dubin’s terms), where a summative unit is one that can be referred to as a global unit that stands for an entire complex phenomenon; conveys a great deal of meaning but is always diffuse; draws together a number of different properties of a thing and gives them a label that highlights one of the more important properties. In the Kuhnian normal science stage of the entrepreneurship field without a validated robust scale, stewardship will remain positioned as a summative unit with a limited role to play in theory building.
Stewardship theory defines relationships based upon behavioural premises not addressed by the manager-principal interest divergence canvassed in agency theory. In that way, a steward unlike an agent is not motivated by self-interest. His/her motives are allied with the objectives of the principals. Psychological and situational aspects differentiate principal-steward relationships from principal-agent relationships. Stewardship theory has had conceptual but limited empirical development.
Craig, Justin; Dibrell, Clay; and Neubaum, Donald
"OVERCOMING THE LIABILITY OF THEORETICAL NEWNESS: THE CASE FOR STEWARDSHIP THEORY (SUMMARY),"
Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research: Vol. 30
, Article 1.
Available at: http://digitalknowledge.babson.edu/fer/vol30/iss11/1