What is Business Organizing for? – The Role of Business in Society Over Time

14 Pages Posted: 8 May 2010 Last revised: 2 Nov 2013

See all articles by Michael Pirson

Michael Pirson

Fordham University - Graduate School of Business Administration; Harvard University; Humanistic Management Network

Date Written: May 6, 2010

Abstract

The purpose of business is a much contested issue. In this paper, I offer a review of the historical development of the role of business in society and examine the general arguments for different perspectives. From an Aristotelian to a Smithian view of the role of business to the more recent discourse on shareholder value maximization and stakeholder value generation. Going beyond that discussion, I am presenting alternative conceptualizations that might help redirect the discussion of what business should be organizing for.

Keywords: Objective function, business purpose, shareholder value, stakeholder value, common good, well being, management education

Suggested Citation

Pirson, Michael, What is Business Organizing for? – The Role of Business in Society Over Time (May 6, 2010). Fordham University Schools of Business Research Paper No. 2010-015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1601644 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1601644

Michael Pirson (Contact Author)

Fordham University - Graduate School of Business Administration ( email )

1790 Broadway 1147
New York, NY New York 10019
United States

Harvard University

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Humanistic Management Network ( email )

St. Gallen
Switzerland

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