Purpose of the Corporation

Think long-term. Lead with purpose.

Business corporations are perhaps the most influential organizations in society and have long been recognized as important contributors to the common good. Society grants corporations unique privileges in order to harness their great capacities to serve its needs. Yet the current narrative of the business corporation tells a different story; corporations have the sole purpose of maximizing profits for shareholders.

The ways a company views its purpose are enormously consequential, not only to ensure corporate accountability, but perhaps more importantly as the architecture for value creation. Purpose is a firm’s vision for the value it seeks to create and how that value is created; it defines what the corporation is and does, whom it serves and how it contributes to the well-being of society.

Our work focuses on rethinking common misperceptions about corporate purpose and explores ways that company-specific notions of their higher purpose can enable longer-term thinking in business.