Business Ethics from the Standpoint of Redemption: Adorno on the Possibility of Good Work

Business Ethics Quarterly 31 (4):500-523 (2021)
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Given his view that the modern world is ‘radically evil’, Adorno is an unlikely contributor to business ethics. Despite this, we argue that his work has a number of provocative implications for the field that warrant wider attention. Adorno regards our social world as damaged, unfree, and false and we draw on this critique to outline why the achievement of good work is so rare in contemporary society, focusing in particular on the ethical demands of roles and the ideological nature of management’s self-understanding. Nevertheless, we show that Adorno’s comments on activities such as art and philosophy mean that it is possible to draw on his work in a way that contributes constructively to the conversation about good and meaningful work within business ethics.

Author Profiles

Craig Reeves
Birkbeck College
Matthew Sinnicks
University of Southampton


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