Werner Erhard

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Recently Published:

Speaking Being: Werner Erhard,
Martin Heidegger, and a New
Possibility of Being Human
by Bruce Hyde, PhD
and Drew Kopp, PhD; Wiley 2019


Putting Integrity Into Finance:
A Purely Positive Approach
Published in the Journal:
Capitalism and Society,
Volume 12, Issue 1
May 4, 2017


werner erhard harvard university

Working Paper by
Werner Erhard and
Michael C Jensen




werner erhard NBER

Working Paper by
Werner Erhard and
Michael C Jensen




ecgi werner erhard

Working Paper by
Werner Erhard

and Michael C Jensen







Werner Erhard continues to develop methodologies that provide universities and business with the means to design new contexts and paradigms – allowing individuals to think more independently and creatively, and to take more effective action, and providing organizations with powerful access to increased performance. Werner Erhard has lectured for a wide variety of prestigious institutions and professional associations around the world, including DePaul University, the Gruter Institute, Harvard Business School, Stanford University, University of Rochester Simon School of Business, Yale Law School, Yale School of Organization and Management, MIT Sloan School of Management Leadership Center, Harvard Law School, USC Marshall School of Business, UNESCO, The Center for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Werner Erhard's written works on the topics of integrity, leadership, transformation and performance are often among the top most downloaded publications at Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN).


Speaking Being: Werner Erhard, Martin Heidegger, and a New Possibility of Being Human
Bruce Hyde, PhD and Drew Kopp, PhD; Wiley, 2019

“Millions have had the opportunity to experience the ideas of Werner Erhard, one of the most incisive and insightful thinkers of our generation. This book gives two rare opportunities: to read the text of an entire Forum led by Erhard, and, in parallel, to walk with a guide to Erhard’s synergies with Martin Heidegger’s thinking.” David Eagleman, PhD, Stanford University


“Educational research confirms that without a significant intervention, students who become teachers are likely to replicate the pedagogical approaches their teachers used with them. Practicing Erhard’s approach to ontological inquiry—presented in print for the first time in this book—provides such an intervention. It equips students, teachers, academics of any field to critically examine their dispositions and access more effective ways of being and acting. Speaking Being is a must read for scholars of social foundations of education, teacher education, and frankly, for members of any field of study.” Carolyne J. White, Professor of Social Foundations, Department of Urban Education, Rutgers University Newark


"Speaking Being presents an ontological play between Erhard, Heidegger, the participants of a Forum delivered in 1989, and the reader, who is summoned to the scene to dwell in compelling questions and distinctions, the living of which make available the invention of a life that is experienced as authentic. The relentless commitment of authors Hyde and Kopp to communicate the unsayable, Being, opens up new directions for a rhetoric of emancipation that goes beyond traditional critical theories. Speaking Being speaks a new relation to language, one that honors the unexplored ontological power of language to create a new freedom to be, to live with existential courage". Margarida Garcia, Vice-Dean, Research and Communications, Faculty of Law (Civil Law) and Professor, Faculty of Law (Civil Law) and Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa


Putting Integrity Into Finance: A Purely Positive Approach - Published by Columbia University's Center On Capitalism and Society in their Journal: Capitalism and Society; Volume 12, Issue 1, May 2017

"Integrity as we define it (or the lack thereof) on the part of individuals or organizations has enormous economic implications for value, productivity, and quality of life. Indeed, integrity is a factor of production as important as labor, capital, and technology. Without a clear, concise, and most importantly, an actionable definition of integrity, economics, finance and management are far less powerful than they can be." - Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen


Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological / Phenomenological Model

This course in developmental production is a collaborative work between Werner Erhard, Professor Michael C. Jensen, Steve Zaffron, and Professor Jeri Echeverria (and past contributors Allan Scherr and Kari Granger).

The course is a leadership laboratory where instructors work with the participants to create direct access to the ways of being, thinking, planning, and action required to be a leader and to exercise leadership effectively – in any situation, and no matter the circumstances. The course is designed to give students actual access to being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership as their natural self-expression. The course has been in development since it was first delivered in 2004 at the University of Rochester Simon School of Business, USA (where it was delivered yearly through 2008) to MBA, PhD, and Executive Development Program students, faculty, administrators, alumni and outside corporate executives. It has been taught in the curriculum at the United States Air Force Academy from 2008 to 2011 (where a version of the course continues to be taught); at Erasmus Academie Rotterdam, NL, in June 2009 (a version of which was taught at the Erasmus University Law School in 2009 and 2010); at Texas A&M University Mays School of Business, USA, in June 2010; in India under the auspices of the IC Centre for Governance and MW Corp in November 2010; at the School of Medicine at Dartmouth, USA; at entrepreneurship@UBC, University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada in 2013; in Singapore, hosted by Nanyang Technological University in July 2014; in Dubai in January 2015 held at the Zayed University Convention Center, and at Clemson University, College of Business in July 2016, and at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA in 2018....Read More


Putting Integrity Into Finance: A Purely Positive Approach, Working Papers:

Werner Erhard and Professor Michael C. Jensen write in their abstract: "The seemingly never ending scandals in the world of finance with their damaging effects on value and human welfare (that continue unabated in spite of all the efforts to curtail that behavior) argues strongly for an addition to the current financial economics paradigm. We summarize here a new theory of integrity that eliminates all the normative content that has been a part of the traditional way integrity has occurred. This new model reveals integrity as a purely positive phenomenon. Adding integrity as a purely positive phenomenon to the financial economics paradigm provides finance scholars and practitioners access to effectively dealing with the never ending scandals in the world of finance. Well beyond the scandals, we argue more generally that adding integrity as a purely positive phenomenon to the economics paradigm reveals integrity as a heretofore unrecognized critical factor of production that will create significant increases in economic efficiency, productivity, and aggregate human welfare."

(Positive as used here is as it is used in the sciences – it does not mean something good or desirable, it means the way integrity actually is and operates.)

Social Science Research Network (SSRN)
Harvard Business School
NOM Unit Working Paper No. 12-074
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Paper #19986, Issued March 2014
European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
Finance Working Paper No. 417/2014


The Handbook for Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing, and Being - Chapter 16

In Harvard University’s The Handbook for Teaching Leadership, Professor Scott Snook (Senior Lecturer), Nitin Nohria (Dean of Harvard Business School), and Rakesh Khurana (Dean of Harvard College) write, “... this eclectic group of scholars argues for adopting a decidedly ontological approach to leadership education that promises to leave students actually being leaders.” ... Read More


Living with Mastery: What It Takes - SSRN

This paper is based on slide talks presented to the general public. Those talks and this paper present a way of accessing life, living, and who one is for oneself, based on studying masters (e.g., master athletes, master physicists, master educators, master physicians, and master artists).

Like masters of any specialized area, while masters of life are innately ordinary people, they do perceive and comprehend life (experience life) – the world, others, and themselves – differently than most of us do. As a result, they interact with the world, others, and themselves differently than most of us do. And, it is the way in which they interact with life and with themselves that makes them extraordinarily effective in dealing with life while enjoying an exceptionally high quality of life.

This paper spells out the way masters of life access life, living, and themselves, and does so in words that make mastery of life accessible to the rest of us ordinary people.


A Purely Positive* Theory of Integrity

Werner Erhard and Professor Michael Jensen define integrity and discuss their research linking integrity and personal and corporate performance. They address integrity in a developing academic paper, whose primary purpose is to present a positive model of integrity that provides a powerful access to increased performance for individuals, groups, organizations, and societies. *Positive as used here is as it is used in the sciences - it does not mean something good or desirable, it means the way integrity actually is and operates.

This academic paper was initially presented at the Gruter Institute Conference on Values in June 2006. Since then it has been presented over 40 times, most recently at Washington University Olin School of Business March 2010...Read More


A New View of Integrity: A Life-Changing Model

Werner Erhard and Professor Michael C. Jensen write in their abstract: "We argue here that a large amount of the damage inflicted on people and organizations is caused by actions of individuals that are not in their own self interest. That is, people consistently impose costs on themselves, their loved ones, friends, associates, partners, employers and the public by actions that are not in their own self interest. In this presentation we focus on the integrity issues that cause huge problems in the lives of most individuals and to every one we come in contact with."

Harvard Business School Working Paper No. 10-068


Creating Leaders, a New Model: An Evening with Werner Erhard and Michael Jensen

This presentation is based on the work of Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen (along with co-instructors Steve Zaffron, Kari Granger, and Jeri Echeverria) over the last eleven years developing the course entitled "Being A Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership". This presentation was given at the University of California, Berkeley Zellerbach Hall on 13 May 2015. Over 1600 people attended the sold-out event. They also gave the presentation to sold-out audiences at the University of Chicago Mandel Hall (3 May 2015 - over 800 participants), and at New York University Skirball Center (5 November 2013 - over 800 participants).


A New Paradigm of Performance

"Our new model of performance (a part of our new paradigm of performance), rather than adding more explanations for why people do what they do and why they don’t do what they don’t do, provides actionable access to the source of performance. This actionable access to the source of performance opens up a new realm of opportunity for study and research, and for new and more effective interventions, applications, and practices for improving individual, group, and organizational performance." ...Read More

Watch Werner Erhard at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government speaking about "The Ontological Foundations of Performance."   October 15, 2009.


The Barbados Group

The Barbados Group is an international group of scholars, consultants and practitioners who were brought together by Werner Erhard.  The Group's specific intention is to create a new paradigm of performance.  The working name for this new paradigm is “The Ontological Foundations of Performance.”  This new paradigm is based on the fundamental proposition that the performance of an individual, group or organization is a correlate of the way the world in which, and on which, that entity is performing "occurs" for that entity.  This new paradigm also offers access to this "occurring" through a specific use of a distinct aspect of language. 

The first publication in book form to come out of the Barbados Group’s exploration and the tenets of “The Ontological Foundations of Performance” is Three Laws of Performance, the 2009 best selling book by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan... Read More


The Mastery Foundation

The Mastery Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer, interfaith organization established in 1983. The work of the Mastery Foundation is to empower religious and grassroots community leaders in creating new conversations and possibilities in the areas of ministry, peace and reconciliation, and community empowerment.

The Mastery Foundation grew out of a series of conversations among Christian and Jewish clergy who had experienced a personal transformation when they participated in The est Training. The group requested that Werner Erhard develop a program designed specifically for them. As part of the design work, Werner Erhard requested that the Mastery Foundation enlist experts on clergy development and practice who could represent the Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish faiths. The first workshop was held in 1984 for 60 participants. Since that time, the Mastery Foundation has offered the workshop for more than 3000 lay and ordained participants in the United States, Kenya, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. ...Read More

In 1999, Werner Erhard and Peter Block developed the Mastery Foundation's Ireland Initiative, which brought a broad base of community leaders together to work on peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. This workshop continutes to provide a unique process that provokes new ways of thinking and new conversations designed to produce breakthroughs for the participants in their relationship to the past, the future, and to what is possible for themselves and their communities.

At the design conferences for the Mastery Foundation School for Leadership in 2006, 2007, and 2008, Werner Erhard presented new models of integrity and leadership, two core distinctions on which the new school is based.


The Eranos Foundation

Werner Erhard presented "A Breakthrough In Individual and Social Transformation" at the Eranos Conference in Ascona, Switzerland on June 18, 2006

The Eranos Foundation was founded in the 1930’s to provide a point of contact and opportunity for discussion for thinkers from disparate fields of knowledge ranging from depth psychology and comparative religion to history, literary criticism and folklore. The yearly conferences or "Tagungs" were frequented by luminaries like Jung, Martin Buber, Henry Corbin, D.T. Suzuki and others. ...Read More


Werner Erhard at the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership presenting his work on "Why We Do What We Do: A New Model Providing Actionable Access to the Source of Performance," December, 2009

Werner H. Erhard was invited to deliver the keynote speech, "How Language Shapes the World," at the NeuroLeadership Summit at the UCLA Faculty Center in Los Angeles in October 2009.

On Mastery: New Delhi, India November 2010

Being A Leader And The Effective Exercise Of Leadership: An Ontological / Phenomenological Model: Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, June 2012

Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen at Simon Business School University of Rochester, Sands Leadership Lecture Series, March 2014

Creating Leaders: A New Model, An Evening with Werner Erhard and Professor Michael C. Jensen, University of Chicago, Illinois and University of California, Berkeley, California, May 2015

Werner Erhard on Compassion at Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, November 2017

Being A Leader And The Effective Exercise Of Leadership: An Ontological / Phenomenological Model, University of California Los Angeles, USA, July 2018


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