Will it promote friendship?

Lisa Schmalzried gave a lecture about the five-question-probe at the forum “Good Leadership” of the Karl Schlecht Foundation.

From October 29 until October 2019, the KSG-Forum “Good Leadership” took place in Filderstadt. This year´s topic of the forum was “trust”. PD Dr. Lisa Schmalzried, academic head of the doctoral program, has been invited to deliver a speech about the five-question-probe of Karl Schlecht. The five-question-probe has its roots in the Rotarian four-question-probe. According to Karl Schlecht´s interpretation, one should examine each word and deed by means of his five questions, thus also by means of the fourth question: will it promote friendship? In her talk, Schmalzried argued that to treat another person as if she were a friend promotes friendship. This in turn means that one should treat her in a morally right and praiseworthy way out of concern and affection and for her own sake. The fourth question thus poses high demands on each individual. In many contexts and towards many people, this requirement is a psychological and motivational overstraining. Therefore, the fourth question is no concrete guiding principle for our actions. It rather sketches an ideal, the ideal of a genuine connection and attachment between all people. This ideal is still provoking, especially in the professional and business context: behaviour promoting friendship reduces or removes power asymmetries, hierarchies and dependencies, for instance. And the ideal is incompatible with an instrumental justification for moral behaviour in the professional and business context.

Schmalzried also presented the doctoral program “Ethics and Responsible Leadership in Business” at the KSG project exhibition. Here, eight selected projects funded by the KSG were featured.