i have a theory
But for scientists, a theory has nearly the opposite meaning. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can incorporate laws, hypotheses and facts. The theory of gravitation, for instance, explains why apples fall from trees and astronauts float in space. Similarly, the theory of evolution explains why so many plants and animals–some very similar and some very different–exist on Earth now and in the past, as revealed by the fossil record.
Part of the Darwin exhibition.
What is the purpose of business? While most agree that business minimally involves the creation of value, a blurred double image of value haunts our discussion of purpose. The image of what counts as value for a single firm is laid atop an image of what counts as value for business in general. These two images cannot match. Indeed, the resulting conceptual blurriness is a classic example of a composition fallacy. We should never mistake the properties of a part for the properties of the whole. A theory of the firm is ill equipped to handle the many expectations we hold for business practice. As such, we seek to establish the beginnings of a theory of business, one that is both empirical and normative. Offering four central propositions about the purpose, accountability, control and success of business, we close with a consideration of several important theoretical issues and practical opportunities that await us in the years ahead.
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Here is one theory that swallows up and annihilates all others.
The rest of my theory is embodied in the foregoing narrative.