Quakers and Business Group
Promoting Quaker values in Business and the Workplace

Towards a Quaker View of Business

Introduction

Q&B proposes producing a new publication, titled Towards a Quaker View of Business. The time seems ripe for such a new work, given the core role capitalism plays in the material prosperity of us all, and following the early 21st Century’s excesses in the commercial world.

To this perspective can be added Friends’ concerns about Business’ seemingly remorselessly growing uses of our planet, and particularly Business’ seemingly adverse impact on the very systems in our environment on which we humans depend for our survival. Is the material consumption component of our civilization at risk of actually causing the consuming of our civilization its self, via destroying its life support systems? Or is this view in fact merely alarmist, superficial and manipulative?

Where is our sense of the spirit in the consumerist debate? And, underlying that, in the role of business in 21st Century society?

The Task

The first step in building Towards a Quaker View of Business is to consider and discern the main themes of the publication.

We ask you to contribute by emailing your list of the 8 to 10 items that you consider to be its essential key themes to Alistair Heslop.

Your input will be used during the afternoon engagement session at the Q&B Spring Gathering on Saturday 21st April in Woodbrooke, and in the on-going development of the publication through further face-to-face events, social media and email. Please come and join in face to face, then electronically.

To help you start, you may find the following draft 21st Century business questions helpful:-

1. Is the business of Business business, or is the business of Business peace? What might business be like if its purpose was the latter?

2. Why would the Quaker business method be appropriate in the business world? What has it to offer and what might its disadvantages be? Is unity essential to doing good business? Could Friends endorse a move towards discursive democracy in business, or is more control required?

3. Why is simplicity a sure guide to doing good business, and what might it mean today? Why might it ever not be a sure guide to doing good business?

4. What might equality mean in today’s global business world? What might Friends find sensible in leadership, and also in management style, in the local and global business setting?

5. Why is the Truth often found lacking in the business world, and what might Friends in prayer and action seek to do to mend this?

6. Power works best, Friends find, when it is accountable to those over whom it is exerted. Why might this principle find useful application in 21st century business? What differences might it make if universally applied via the very DNA of business?

7. Can Friends faithfully and with practical examples stand up and assert that, in the business world as elsewhere, discerning right ordering comes from the deepest sense of the spiritual and the eternal of which we as individuals may be capable, and not from a contingent calculation of advantage? What benefits and drawbacks might such an assertion lead to in the business world? How might it be actioned and made alive for non-Friends?