Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Purpose of Business

What is the purpose of business? That is a simple question with many answers. Among them are:

To increase profits. (Friedman)

To balance the competing interests of stakeholders. (Freeman)

The purpose is unique to each firm; it is specialized and evolving. (Mackey)

To maximize owner value by selling goods and services. (Sternberg)

To create and keep a customer. (Drucker)

To meet society's needs. (Brown)

To "serve the community skillfully as well as faithfully in offices of trust" and “aid in maintaining sound financial morality.” (Khurana & Gintis, quoting Wharton)

To improve society. (Ebertz)

To act as a vehicle of economic progress. (Henderson)

To "increase the general well-being of humankind through service, a creative invention and ethical philosophy." (Hawken)

To serve the state. (Mussolini)

To expropriate the worker. (Marx)

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