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Shareholder Value and the Common Good

What is the objective or purpose of business Management? According to the dominant theory of contemporary financial management scholarship, agency theory, business managers are obligated to maximise owner or shareholder value. According to most theories of business ethics, however, some owner-value-maximising actions should not be performed, because they would be unethical. Because business management scholars and business ethics scholars have not resolved this contradiction, students of commerce receive a contradictory education. The twenty-five essays in this interdisciplinary, international volume address the question of the objective or purpose of business management from a wide range of theoretical perspectives. Since some of the writers contradict one another, it is not possible that all of them are correct. Nevertheless, the fact that many of them argue persuasively that business managers should aspire to more than maximisation of a financial variable challenges everyone with a theoretical or practical interest in commerce to reconsider acceptance of the owner-value paradigm and to develop a richer conception of the profession of business management.
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