A Theory of Human Flourishing for Company Decision-Making
Business is one engine of well-being, and the main engine of material well-being, in society. Companies produce goods and services that we would not be able to do without or that add comfort or pleasure to our lives, provide us with jobs, and help make our communities dynamic and lively. Still, businesses come increasingly under criticism for being the cause of many social, environmental and economic problems, and are often seen as prospering at the expense of individual people and the broader society. Also, as customers or employees of businesses, we are frequently dissatisfied with substandard product quality, unfriendly service, a work community in which not everyone is pulling in the same direction or leaders who do not inspire. We invest many resources and much energy and time in our roles that have to do with companies. In such a situation, it seems justified to ask whether businesses are fulfilling their potential, if viewed as agents of well-being. My thesis aims to be one contribution to the active academic, political and societal debate we have in the Western world on the appropriate evolution of businesses in the 2010s. Faced with intensifying competition from developing world produce, large private and public sector debts restricting consumption opportunities at home, and social and environmental concerns about ways companies operate, Western businesses are re-thinking their strategies. Many progressive companies are going even further and are revising their objectives in ways that challenge our traditional conception of what a business is, what it does and how.