Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 87–98

When Deontology and Utilitarianism Aren’t Enough: How Heidegger’s Notion of “Dwelling” Might Help Organisational Leaders Resolve Ethical Issues


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-006-0019-0

Cite this article as:
Ladkin, D. J Bus Ethics (2006) 65: 87. doi:10.1007/s10551-006-0019-0


This paper offers an alternative to deontological and utilitarian approaches to making ethical decisions and taking good actions by organisational leaders. It argues that the relational and context-dependent nature of leadership necessitates reference to an ethical approach which explicitly takes these aspects into account. Such an approach is offered in the re-conceptualisation of ethical action on the part of leaders as a process of “coming into right relation” vis-à-vis those affected by their decisions and actions. Heidegger’s notion of “dwelling” is explored as a means of “coming into right relation”. Three aspects of dwelling: “staying with”, “comportment” and “active engagement” are described and ways in which they might be practically enacted by leaders are suggested. The paper concludes by reflecting on the ways adopting a “dwelling” approach to resolving ethical issues implies a re-conceptualisation of leadership itself.


business ethics Heidegger and ethics leadership leadership ethics relational practices 

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Leadership StudiesUniversity of ExeterExeter, DevonUK

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