In the publication “Lenkung und Ablenkung” (Control and Deflection, Schwabe-Verlag Basel, 2019), with which I completed my doctorate at the University of St.Gallen, I dealt with controlling actions through language and writing. The areas of organisational and management theory, acting, music and dance theatre are considered. On the one hand, I discuss the communicative effects of linguistic signals and, on the other, the process of transforming the literary text into a performance medium. I am fascinated by the status of the written word in the digital age, from whose perspective the material and physical world appears in a new light. The publication can be ordered from Schwabe Verlag Basel/Berlin.

The aim of the study is to use an interdisciplinary perspective to draw attention to the fundamental language dependency of leadership practices on the one hand and the ambivalences of all control processes on the other. If the guiding action materialises in texts, the difficulties of understanding are accentuated due to the written communication channel. Both the strength and the weakness of text as a means of control are based on the fact that counter-readings, reinterpretations and unforeseeable conclusions must be expected. Such active forces determine not only directing itself, but all practices in which 'leadership' is characterised.

The subject of the study is four drama texts by John von Düffel (Die Unbekannte mit dem Fön), Peter Handke (The Ward Wants to Be the Guardian / The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other) and Franz Xaver Kroetz (Request Concert). All written in the second half of the 20th century, they reflect a changed understanding of leadership in enlightened, liberal societies. The leadership modalities practised in the various areas of activity are moving away from organisational principles that tend to be hierarchically structured. Overly deterministic ideas of planning and control are being abandoned. A contemporary understanding of leadership is increasingly focussing on the paradoxical forces at work in the field of tension between 'prescribing' and 'leaving things open'.