Dostoevsky's "The Grand Inquisitor"

Adding an Ethical Component to the Teaching of Non-Market Entrepreneurship

  • Gordon Shockley Arizona State University
  • Peter Frank Wingate University


The premise of this essay is that the study of ethics is an essential component in teaching all forms of “non-market entrepreneurship,” that is, all forms of entrepreneurship not undertaken solely for commercial purposes. In non-market entrepreneurship, such as arts entrepreneurship, social enterprise, or social entrepreneurship, at least one other purpose instead of or in addition to profit motivates acting entrepreneurially. In this essay we show how we add an ethical component to teaching social entrepreneurship in a discussion-based seminar in an American university. The thrust of our effort is to require students read Fyodor Dostoevsky's “The Grand Inquisitor” and the Father Zossima portions from The Brothers Karamazov, originally published in Russian in 1863 as a seminal work in the golden age of Russian literature. Through the instructor's structured and directed discussion of the text, students are presented with the argument that a personal ethic of “loving humility” as embodied in the character of Father Zossima might serve as an appropriate ethical guide for non-market entrepreneurship.

Author Biography

Gordon Shockley, Arizona State University

Gordon E. Shockley, MBA, Ph.D.,   is Associate Professor of Social Entrepreneurship in the School of Community Resources and Development at Arizona State University. He earned his doctorate in Public Policy at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy in 2006.  Before returning to academia, he utilized his M.M./M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management (1998) in working for all levels of American government, including the finance division of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the budget offices of Milwaukee County, Kentucky, and Missouri.  He also has managed multi-million dollar information technology projects simultaneously across several state and local governments. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1990 with a B.A. in English and Ancient Greek Languages and Literatures with an additional emphasis in Latin and Roman Literature (Honors Collegium, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa).  He is also currently working on a M.A. in Art History at Arizona State University.

Russian writer, hands folded.

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