A crisis of leadership: Towards an anti-sovereign ethics of organisation

Edward Wray-Bliss*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


A common reaction to crises experienced within or brought about by business is to identify a corollary 'crisis of leadership' and to call for better (stronger, more thoughtful or, indeed, more ethical and responsible) leaders. This paper supports the idea that there is a crisis of leadership - but interprets it quite differently. Specifically, I argue that the most ethically debilitating crisis is the fact that we look to leadership to solve organisational ethical ills. There is, I argue, a pressing need to conceptualise a business ethics that is not constrained by the straitjacket of official hierarchy - a need to denaturalise 'leadership' as the normal or rightful locus of ethical regulation and renewal in business organisation. To this end, I explore a Levinasian ethico-politics of responsibility and proximity as the basis of an alternative, anti-sovereign, ethics of organisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-101
Number of pages16
JournalBusiness Ethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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