The Marchionne Case Study.
“Leaders, great leaders, are people who have an extraordinary ability to design and redesign creative collaborative relationships within their teams”, Sergio Marchionne.
Philosophy and Business: an intense historical relationship
Many may be surprised by the intense relationship that philosophy and the world of entrepreneurship have had at many times in history. In the Greek polis (City-State), in the Dutch Golden Age, in Silicon Valley, to name three historical moments where commercial expansion and freedom of thought went hand in hand, to make some of the greatest leaps in the progress of humanity. Philosophers were not always teachers or professional philosophers, they had the most diverse professions. Socrates went to the public square (agora) and debated with everyone. Aristotle had his own farm, Spinoza polished glasses, Voltaire was a financial speculator, Pascal a businessman like Engels. Others like Marx never worked, but they did not stop writing about the work of others. Wittgenstein, one of the most brilliant philosophers, was a soldier, a schoolteacher, a nurse, as well as a brilliant Cambridge professor.
Back in the 17th century, with the specialization of knowledge, philosophy ended up enclosed in a University faculty independent of other knowledge, with no other objective than to teach future philosophy teachers. This vicious circle forever condemned philosophers to an ivory tower. Society and philosophy split. At that historical moment, the transversality that philosophy had had with other knowledge ended forever. In the 11th century, to study any subject, you first had to know Aristotle.
The truth is that philosophy is not the history of philosophy that philosophy teachers teach, it is philosophizing, it is thinking. Surprisingly to philosophize it is not necessary to read philosophy, although it is convenient. Today this situation is beginning to change and philosophers are required in companies like Google. Many brilliant philosophy graduates, such as Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal, Reid Hoffmann, founder of Linkedin, or the former CEO of Tinder, Renate Nybor, have had great business success.
Managing beyond the MBA: Philosophical Competencies