SPES Workshop on European Literature and the Ethics of Leadership
SPES Workshop location:Bergen (Norway) date:2-4 May 2008
In this paper we are analyzing ways of thinking about limits, concept pivotal in business contexts. Take the case of objectives managers have to set at the beginning of the financial year and the consequences thereof at the end of the year: a (large) bonus, or not. The debate about limits is almost always a question about: how far can I go, which turns limits into obstacles all or not to be accepted. Most of the time these obstacles are perceived as physical restrictions such as, natural resources that cannot keep up with the pace of (so-called) economic development; or one’s body which is not built for every task or any effort. The main source of inspiration to elaborate on limits is Goethe’s Faust, which will be central to our critically reflections on limits, literature and leadership. Faust is an allegory for the way leadership is often perceived: without limits. In this paper we want to emphasize another aspect of limits, i.e. a path that leads one to the other.