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Ghislain Deslandes

Ghislain Deslandes is a French philosopher born in Angers (France) on the 16th of August 1970.

Ghislain Deslandes
Ghislain Deslandes.jpg
Nationality French
Notable work Essai sur les données philosophiques du management, Critique de la condition managériale
Main interests
Existentialism and French phenomenology, Leadership, Media management, Media studies
Notable ideas
Beau geste, Desaffectio societatis, Protomanagement, Weak management

His interdisciplinary discourse spans such topics as cultural and media studies, weak theology and phenomenology, management and continental philosophy. He is a full professor and academic director of the Advanced Master in Media Management at ESCP Europe, and a program director at the Collège International de Philosophie (CIPh).

He received the EFMD-FNEGE Best Essay Award in 2015.[1]


Academic and professional positionsEdit

At ESCP Europe, he is a member of the Social Sciences and Humanities department and he is best known as the academic director of the advanced Media Management program since 1997, a pioneer in Europe in the domain of media economics and management created ten years before. With the help of a sponsoring committee made up of professionals such as Jean Drucker, Jacques Rigaud and Daniel Toscan du Plantier, the pedagogical content has focused on editorial transformations and economic changes in both new and traditional media.

He has occupied various senior positions in the media and digital industries from 1994 until 2007, when he sold a news publishing company that he had run four years before deciding to devote himself full-time to academia.

He is also an Editorial Board member of Business and Professional Ethics Journal (BPEJ) and of International Journal on Media Management[2] (JMM) since 2010.

Research workEdit

Media managementEdit

His research has contributed to the consolidation of a European orientation, especially through his involvement at EMMA,[3] to media organization studies. His initial work[4] presents media management less as a new academic discipline than as a multi-paradigm field of research that challenges the universalist approaches to management science.[5]

In such a “sector studies” approach, management is inconceivable without a plurality of disciplines, particularly the social sciences and humanities, which bring their theoretical and methodological contributions to a better understanding of the agents and of the structures. From the model suggested by Küng,[6] management in media activities cannot avoid a “contextualist” approach to study the media in their constantly changing historical, sociological and economic specificities, and “pluralistic”, i.e. recognizing the complexity of specific media organizations at the editorial, political and identity levels.

Business ethics and continental philosophyEdit

Scientific management claims to be axiologically neutral. In Management Ethique (2012),[7] he shows instead that managerial practice includes ethical and political questions not only at the meso (the organization) and macro (societal and environmental) but also at the micro level (relation to oneself and to others).

Drawing on various sources of European continental philosophy his work highlights, beyond the efforts of the traditional stream of research in business ethics, the fact that ethics cannot be taught or understood as any other management “knowledge”. The notion of protomanagement,[8] as one can conceive it through discussion between Socrates and Ischomachus in Xenophon’s Economics is then reactivated. In the Ancient Greece, Protomanagement is first conceived as a political art inseparable from a form of virtue; the ancient “Mesnager” is that dedicated to mastering his/her self -Sophrosyne- and concern for the society as a whole.

Philosophy of managementEdit

At the International College of Philosophy, he develops a research program which aims to extend the efforts made by critical and phenomenological researchers in order to discuss the commonly-held epistemic and political aspects of modern management. The program emphasizes "the crisis of the foundations faced by management science in its ethical/philosophical aims".[9] A crisis that can be defined as desaffectio societatis, and which seems to touch the managers themselves more and more.[10]

The program aims to develop some new ontological and aesthetic approaches to the administration of "business", suggesting a new definition of management expressed as “a vulnerable force, under pressure to achieve results and endowed with the triple power of constraint, imitation and imagination, operating on subjective, interpersonal, institutional and environmental levels”.[11]

Phenomenology of life and organizationsEdit

From an interpretation of Blaise Pascal and Paul Ricoeur’s analysis of power, he builds new concepts around the question of managerial responsibility, rethinking the usual way of considering management-as-practice: practical wisdom,[12] skeptical humanism or “double thought”.[13]

Then he looks at the necessary conditions for joy at work, following different routes: the first is based on the radical phenomenology of Michel Henry which allows him to pay attention to the impetus of life at work in relation to subjectivity, a little discussed theme in the management literature. The second one concerns field of leadership where power cannot be separated from a dialectic of abilities and disabilities. This approach is at the root of several contributions about the strategic “vision” and gender issues using the works of Henri Bergson and Gilles Deleuze,[14] developments about “blended leadership” in the media,[15] and about the beau geste as a critical behavior in organizations.[16]



  • Critique de la condition managériale, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 2016.[17]
  • Essai sur les données philosophiques du management, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 2013.[18]
  • Le Management Ethique, Collection Management Sup., Editions Dunod, Paris, 2012.[19]
  • Le Management des Médias, Collection Repères, Editions La Découverte, Paris, 2008.[20]

Articles (selection)Edit

  • Reconceptualizing CSR in the Media Industry as Relational Accountability, Journal of Business Ethics, with M. Painter-Morland, 2016.
  • There are no Codes, Only Interpretations. Practical Wisdom and Hermeneutics in Monastic Organizations, Journal of Business Ethics, with G. Mercier, 2016.
  • The Aesthetics of Leadership: Beau Geste as Critical Behaviour, Organisation Studies, with J. P. Bouilloud, 2015.
  • Gender and Visionary Leading: rethinking "vision" with Bergson, Deleuze and Guattari, Organization, with M. Painter-Morland, 2014.
  • Power, Profits, and Practical Wisdom: Ricoeur's perspectives on the Possibility of an Ethics in Institutions, Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 2012.
  • The Care-of-Self Ethic with Continual Reference to Socrates : Towards Ethical Self-Management, Business Ethics : A European Review, 2012.
  • In Search of Individual Responsibility: The dark Side of Organizations in the Light of Jansenist Ethics, Journal of Business Ethics, 2011.
  • Indirect Communication and Business Ethics: Kierkegaardian Perspectives, Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 2011.

External linksEdit

  • Biographical information, ESCP Europe website [2].
  • "Oublier Taylor", conference at IFM, 13 Septembre 2013 [3].
  • "Wittgenstein and the Practical Turn in Business Ethics", Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organizational Studies, 16(1), pp 48–56 [4].
  • TV show Philosophie aired on Arte (in German) : [5].


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  5. ^ Deslandes G., Fenoll-Trousseau M.-P., (2013), “A gestao das midias e da cultura na europa : perspectivas para uma abordagem comparada”, in Lustosa Da Costa, F., Politica e gestao cultural : perspectivas Brasil e França, Editora Da Universidade Da Bahia, Salvador, p. 287-312
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  8. ^ « Variations philosophiques sur le problème philosophique du management », Collège International de Philosophie, 19 Mai 2014 [1]
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  10. ^ Méda D., Vendramin P., (2013), Réinventer le travail, PUF.
  11. ^ Deslandes G., (2014), “Management in Xenophon's Philosophy : a Retrospective Analysis”, 38th Annual Research Conference, Philosophy of Management, 2014, July 14–16, Chicago, USA
  12. ^ Deslandes G., (2012), “Power, Profits, and Practical Wisdom: Ricoeur's perspectives on the Possibility of an Ethics in Institutions”, Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 31(1), p. 1-24
  13. ^ Deslandes G., (2011), “In Search of Individual Responsibility: The Dark Side of Organizations in the Light of Jansenist Ethics”, Journal of Business Ethics, 110, p. 61-70
  14. ^ Painter-Morland M., Deslandes G., (2013), “Gender and visionary leading: rethinking "vision" with Bergson, Deleuze and Guattari”, Organization (journal), 21(6), p. 844-844
  15. ^ Painter-Morland M., Deslandes G., (2015), “Authentic leading as relational accountability: Facing up to the conflicting expectations of media leaders”, Leadership (journal), DOI: 10.1177/1742715015578307, p. 1-21
  16. ^ Bouilloud J.-P., Deslandes G., (2015), “The Aesthetics of Leadership: Beau Geste as Critical Behaviour”, Organization Studies, DOI: 10.1177/0170840615585341, p. 1-20
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