What is the purpose of an employer? Why do employees go to work? These basic questions have so far had very obvious answers. A corporation exists to make money and the employee goes to work for the employer to make money. Almost all economic theories make the same assumption: the employer – employee relationship is a simple business transaction that makes work possible.
Adam Smith assumed that this transaction is by definition mutually beneficial for both parties. Marxists, on the other hand, would say that the employer will always exploit the employee and that the relationship is thus inherently conflictual. Frederick W. Taylor, the father of scientific management, believed that the relationship is often characterized by uninformed employers mistreating and misusing employees. If employers are enlightened, they can increase productivity and share more profits with the employees. This is, at least partially, the philosophical reasoning behind management education.