Building Love as a Critical Organizational Value – Nu Leadership Series

“For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love.”
I Corinthian 13:13

Many organizations forget the importance of value formation in followers. Love is a powerful value, even in today’s organizations. The philosopher Joas, author of The Genesis of Values, found himself evaluating this concept of love. In Christian theology, love is seen as a vital virtue. Through the Apostle Paul’s epistles, he constantly reminds believers about love. Paul explains in I Corinthian 13:13, “For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love.” John 3:16 proclaims “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son…”

The philosopher Kant viewed love as a commandment or duty while the philosopher Scheler viewed love as an expression of a fundamental relationship between God, an individual, and his neighbor. Kant’s view placed love as an “object of
obligation.” However, Scheler outlined its spiritual nature. These opposing positions placed Joas at a crossroad in his life. His strong Catholic background showcased a strong sense of duty to love others. However, forgiving his father of his Nazism went beyond duty; it was a spiritual cleansing experience for him.

Clearly, an individual who leads others out of obligation is different than an individual who values relationships. Contemporary organizational leaders struggle to motivate employees because of this sense of obligation rather than love. Therefore, forward-thinking organizations should consider applying unselfish love to contemporary business environments.


Holy Bible. (1991) Life Source: The Handbook for Life. Contemporary English Version.

Joas, H. (2000). The Genesis of Values. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Scharmer, C. (1999). Action is the way in which human beings exist in the world. Conversation with Professor Hans Joas, Freie Universitat, Berlin.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green