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Tuesday 16 June 2015

The article "The Aesthetics of Leadership: Beau Geste as Critical Behaviour" written by Prof. Bouilloud and Prof. Deslandes

The article "The Aesthetics of Leadership: Beau Geste as Critical Behaviour published in Organization Studies" by Prof. Bouilloud and Prof. Deslandes


This paper focuses on the role of beau geste in organizations, showing that it is endowed with a specifically critical dimension as it challenges both the established order and customary practices. We also scrutinize  its unique role that consists in critically resisting economic norms. Analysing the beau geste actually offers  an opportunity to broaden the scope of our vision of leadership by relying on aesthetics rather than  conventionally viewing the leader as an artist. In the first part, we thus concentrate on the way leadership  scholars have so far dealt with aesthetics. In the second part, through a series of examples and by adopting  a historical perspective, we describe the defining features of the beau geste in organizations: gratuity effect,  impact on the common good, size effect and surprise effect. We then analyse how beau geste indeed  constitutes a form of provocation against an ‘organized’ world in which economic rationality seems to  prevail. In the conclusion, we outline future prospects for research.



aesthetic leadership, beau geste, common good, critical leadership, noble gesture, Søren Kierkegaard

Jean-Philippe Bouilloud is a professor in the Strategy, Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources department at the ESCP Europe Paris campus. He teaches the following subjects: sociology of organization, management, corporate strategy, sociology of social sciences. Professor Bouilloud was in charge of the Specialist Master of Strategy and Management of Information Systems.

Ghislain Deslandes is Professor at ESCP Europe and Academic Director of the Advanced Master programme in Media Management. He is also Program Director at the Collège International de Philosophie (Ciph).

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