This is a paper about agency theory. Its author argues that agency theory has crowded out other approaches to understanding the governance of modern businesses. The paper rescues the meaning and context which informed the American corporate governance reform movement originally and demonstrates how the economically predicated agency approach became dominant in academic considerations of corporate governance. The author researched and analysed both primary and secondary sources using a Foucauldian history of ideas approach. The article concludes that approaches other than agency theory have been pushed out of the mainstream of corporate governance discourse by an economic model which excludes many of the key issues which informed the notion originally.