Will the Real A. Smith Please Stand Up!

Journal of Business Ethics 136 (1):119-132 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In both the public and the business world, in academe as well as in practice, the ideas of Adam Smith are regarded as the bedrock of modern economics. When present economic conditions and management practices are criticised, Adam Smith is referred to by defenders and detractors of the current status quo alike. Smith, it is believed, defined the essential terms of reference of these debates, such as the rational pursuit of self-interest on part of the individual and the resultant optimal allocation of goods in free markets thanks to the workings of an “invisible hand.” In this article, we question whether this standard view of Smith, the economist, is tenable. We provide an extensive review of the extant secondary literature from economists, business ethicists, and philosophers, comparing their assessments to crucial elements of Smith’s theoretical system. As a result, we show that Smith, far from being an advocate of a value-free or even value-averse conception of economic transactions, stood for a virtue-based and values-oriented model of business. Accordingly, we argue current management education and the pedagogy of business ethics ought to be changed, and certain strategic conclusions drawn for business practice.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,442

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Will the real Von hügel please stand up?Eamon Duffy - 1981 - Heythrop Journal 22 (1):49–55.
Will a real evolutionary ecologist please stand up?Michael T. Ghiselin - 1992 - Biology and Philosophy 7 (3):355-359.
Will The Real Adolf Hitler Please Stand Up?Willard Gaylin - 1977 - Hastings Center Report 7 (5):10-10.
Will the real philosopher behind the last logicist please stand up?Philip Robbins - 1998 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 36 (2):265-287.
Will the Real Bioethics (Commission) Please Stand Up?George J. Annas - 1994 - Hastings Center Report 24 (1):19-21.
Will the real sustainability concept please stand up?J. Cairns - 2004 - Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 49:52.
Death and Fulfilment, or Would the Real Mr. Dostoyevsky Stand Up?Stewart Sutherland - 1983 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures 16:15-27.
Will the real description theory of names please stand up?Deborah Hansen Soles - 1996 - Southwest Philosophy Review 12 (1):151-160.


Added to PP

20 (#566,293)

6 months
1 (#454,876)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?