What is Business Organizing for? – The Role of Business in Society Over Time
14 Pages Posted: 8 May 2010 Last revised: 2 Nov 2013
Date Written: May 6, 2010
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
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