This paper challenges the philosophy underlying traditional management thinking. The historic and possibly arcane purpose of business, to maximise shareholder wealth, is no longer a relevant proposition. Academics and managers need to rethink the philosophical framework of management theory. For the past 50 years the management literature has adopted a more “human” approach to the management of organisations yet the importance of systems and process and performance measurers associated with the scientific theory of management prevails. With the growing importance of knowledge creation and the corporate social responsibility movement it is timely to reflect on the purpose of business as adding value to society and rejecting the focus on accumulation of personal wealth. Knowledge‐creating enterprises are founded on the development of sustainable relationships within the organisation and with stakeholders and thus require a different philosophical perspective.
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