Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 87–98 | Cite as

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

business ethics Heidegger and ethics leadership leadership ethics relational practices 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

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

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