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

Quakernomics - an ethical capitalism?

What explains the success and prosperity of many Quakers in business and commerce throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? Why is this success ignored by Organisation Studies? What lessons can be drawn from the so-called form of ‘Quakernomics’ for contemporary responsible business practice? Quakers have a long tradition in the world of commerce and business, from their involvement in the chocolate industry, but also banking and finance, life assurance, biscuits, shoes, pharmacy, soap, chemicals, railways, canals, agricultural equipment, and industrial manufacturing which became no less than the seed of the industrial revolution.

Based on the ministry of George Fox (1624-1691), at the heart of Quaker theology is the idea of the ‘Light within’, and ‘that of God in everyone’, i.e. that all human beings have the divine within them and, as such, are equal before God. To live out their faith, a number of ‘testimonies’ emerged and evolved to guide personal and corporate behaviour and practice, a sort of spirit-led approach to responsible and ethical business, pre-dating much of today’s emphasis on corporate responsibility by 150 years or more. A better understanding of a business ethic based on the importance of honesty, truth and integrity, with networks, family and succession at its heart, seems to have the potential to offer much to today’s entrepreneurs and managers in an increasingly complex business world. This public lecture essentially asks what lessons can we draw from the Quakers? While a return to the Quaker habits of the eighteenth and nineteenth century seems untenable, the lessons that can be drawn evidence an approach to a ‘more’ responsible business practice that seems attuned to the 21st century.

You are invited to attend this free public lecture. The speakers are as follows:

Revd Dr Richard Turnbull

Richard is a Director of the Centre for Markets, Enterprise and Ethics and has a wide range of experience in buginess, the church and public life. Richard holds a PhD in Theology from the University of Durham. He was ordained into the ministry of the Church of England in 1994. He has served on the General Synod and was a member of the Archbishops’ Council, the Chairman of the Synod’s Business Committee and chaired a number of church working parties including a review of the remuneration of the clergy. Richard served in the pastoral ministry for over 10 years, was Principal of Wycliffe Hall, a Permanent Private Hall of the University of Oxford from 2005-2012 and has been a Director of CEME from 2012. He has authored several books including an acclaimed biography of the social reformer, Lord Shaftesbury, is a member of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Oxford and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Dr Mike King

Mike is an independent researcher and writer with wide-ranging expertise, including authorship of over 60 articles, books, book chapters, and reviews, including the influential ‘Quakernomics: an ethical capitalism’. He holds degrees from the University of Oxford, the Royal College of Art and the University of Kent.


The public lecture is FREE to attend, and is to be held at:

The Corporate and Executive Development Centre
Floor 4
Newcastle Business School
City Campus East 1

5.00-6.30pm, arrive from 4.30pm

Please contact the event organiser if you have any questions:

Nicholas Burton
Senior Lecturer and Convenor of the Spirituality in Management & Law research interest group, part of the Responsible Business signature group
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