Only 15% of business leaders worldwide believe their companies main purpose is to maximise shareholder value, according to a report by EY released today.
Instead, firms cite bringing value to their customers, employees and other stakeholders as more important, saying that it brings benefits in both the short-term and long-term.
Having an 'aspirational and human-centric' definition of purpose was reported to create customer loyalty, preserve brand value and reputation, help attract and retain staff, as well as aid the development innovative products.
"Our research shows the real advantages companies gain when going on an authentic purpose journey," EY Global Markets executive director, Valerie Keller, said. "The data also busts the myth of purpose versus profit.
"Seventy-five percent of purposeful companies involved in our survey tell us that the integration of purpose creates value in the short-term, as well as over the long run."
The EY research involved a survey of 1,470 global leaders from businesses with annual revenues of $2.5bn (£2bn) or more, with 66% saying that they are now "profoundly rethinking" their organisations' purpose.
Around 97% of companies that deeply integrate a broader sense of purpose into their DNA reported a good or great deal of incremental value from doing so, while 60% say it gives them the agility to innovate in times of disruption.
"All the disruption geopolitically, economically and technologically is a catalyst for a new evolution in business," Keller said.
"Those most able to thrive in this new world are focused on their impact on the humans they touch - the customers, the employees and the wider society."
The EY report suggests that organisations should clearly articulate a purpose that meets its stakeholders' needs and is grounded in what it does, aligning decision-making with that purpose.
In addition, it argues that firms should constantly evaluate where they are in their journey, and accelerate it by placing purpose at the centre of its business culture.
"You have to walk the talk in your strategy, products and services, and customer and employee experiences," Keller continued.
"A purpose patina of words without action runs the risk of unmet stakeholder expectations, decreased trust and missed opportunities."