The philosophy of business considers the fundamental principles that underlie the formation and operation of a business enterprise; the nature and purpose of a business, for example, is it primarily property or a social institution; its role in society; and the moral obligations that pertain to it. The subject is important to business and management, and is closely related to business ethics and political economy. It is influenced significantly by philosophy, ethics, and economic theory.
One must draw an important distinction between the philosophy of business and business philosophy, which is an appellation that one often hears in the business world. More often than not, the latter designation is intended to denote a way of doing business or a business outlook, a popular use of the term philosophy, instead of its more formal, academic meaning, using the concepts and methods employed by philosophers. The latter meaning applies to the philosophy of business in this article. The phrase philosophy of business also might be used in the same way as business philosophy, for example, "Risk taking represents my philosophy of business." However, this is not the same sense that philosophy is used in this article.