What is a Business for?

9 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2006 Last revised: 26 May 2009


Charles Handy is critical of overemphasis on share price as the metric for corporate success. He proposes that the purpose of a business "is not to make a profit, full stop." Rather, it is to produce profit so the people in the business can do what pleases them, their families, and others close to them and far away. Handy argues that companies should be managed as communities, for that is what they are: communities of employees organized to serve communities of customers. When this is done using moral values, the system retains internal and external integrity.

Suggested Citation

Handy, Charles, What is a Business for?. Harvard Business Review, December 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=932676

Charles Handy (Contact Author)

London School of Business ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

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