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

Craig Reeves, Matt Sinnicks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-523
Number of pages24
JournalBusiness Ethics Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date19 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s), 2021. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

Cite this