Imagine yourself in the office of a senior executive of a big company, such as Nestlé or UBS. But instead of typing on his computer’s keyboard, the man just sits still, chin resting on his fist and gazing as if lost in thought. Like a modern thinker, he invokes Aristotle and reflects on the meaning of authority.
This image of manager-as-philosopher might seem unrealistic. And yet, a new approach is spreading fast among top executives of Swiss companies, thanks to specialized university lectures and intellectual seminars of ancient and modern philosophy.
Surfing the wave of enthusiasm generated by several magazines and TV programs on the topic, more and more consultants have taken to quoting German philosopher Immanuel Kant and French philosopher Edgar Morin in their coaching sessions. The aftermath of the financial crisis has, to some extent, led to a return of moral values — and with it a search for meaning in the workplace and beyond.