The Importance of Calling in Realization of Life Projects: The Case of Maverick and Serial-entrepreneur Hans Nielsen Hauge with Implications for Business Education

  • Knut ImsEmail author
  • Truls Liland
  • Magne Supphellen


This chapter describes the calling and the entrepreneurial endeavor of Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771–1824), one of the most influential business leaders and entrepreneurs in Norwegian history. Hauge was a lay preacher—influenced by his Christian faith, he devoted himself to a life of service of common people. Through comprehensive authorship, preaching, and the establishment of communities of faith, Hauge was able to inspire and employ people in a number of new business ventures. The movement Hauge initiated made a substantial and lasting impact on Norwegian society for several generations; its influence is still seen today. A central moment in Hauge’s extraordinary life project was a spiritual breakthrough. Hauge experienced that the Lord directly called him “to love God and my neighbor”. During the period 1796–1804, Hauge covered more than 15,000 kilometers by foot, establishing small communities of believers, and starting businesses. With like-minded friends as business partners, Hauge was involved in establishing 150 businesses. Hauge was a maverick and was arrested a number of times because he openly challenged the official Lutheran state church and the authorities. This chapter gives an overview of Hauge’s philosophy of business and the concrete business cases he established, and does not describe the “dark side” of Hauge’s life project, which involved imprisonment under the worst imaginable circumstances. Hauge is used as a role model to inform a principal discussion on the implications for management research and current business education. The need for a type of business education which assists students in defining life goals and life projects is emphasized. It fits well into Martin Buber’s philosophy, and involves building characters through mentorship and focusing on the processes of learning and personal development.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian School of EconomicsBergenNorway
  2. 2.NLA University CollegeBergenNorway

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