What is the purpose of a corporation in today’s world?

When I was doing my graduate work, many years ago, I was influenced a lot by the research and thinking of Dr. Willis Harman. He co-founded an organization called the World Business Academy. I was fortunate enough to spend time with him and hear his lectures. At the time, he believed that corporations were becoming the dominant institution in our society. As a result, they needed to broaden their purpose from a self-serving focus on profit and shareholder returns to making the world a better place. His thinking was that throughout history, the dominant institution of the time – whether it was the church or government, would assume greater responsibility for society. He began to see business as that dominant institution. His ideas influenced my thinking about repurposing the role of business in society.


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