A Global Leadership Movement Committed To A Responsible Economy That Enables Our Freedom to Flourish

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OUR mission

A Global Independent Professional Association For Good Leaders

The Good Leadership Society is intended to be a global, independent professional association for leaders. We serve as the authoritative voice for leaders, committed to advancing excellence in the profession to ensure the integrity of both businesses and society.

leadership excellence

Leadership stands as the world's most powerful vocation, yet poor leadership has inflicted immeasurable suffering. The proliferation of unqualified leadership theories and models has sown unhealthy confusion, obscuring the path to genuine 'good leadership' and how to develop it. Our ambition is to finally settle this longstanding debate.

For the first time, the Good Leadership Society seeks to establish an extraordinary global alliance of cross-disciplinary experts, melding the finest available leadership knowledge from both theory and practice. Our aim is to establish an authoritative, worldwide benchmark for leadership, setting the standards for qualification, evaluation, and continuous development in leadership, benefiting individuals and organizations alike. The Good Leadership Society will seek to establish collaborative partnerships with forward-thinking individuals and organizations across the globe to uphold the highest ethical standards and best practices in personal, organizational, and societal leadership, striving for the sustainable prosperity of all.

In the words of a wise adage, 'Leadership is the ability of a people to craft their own destiny.' If we aspire to a brighter future, we must invest in better leadership today."

Key Objectives

  • Leadership Competency Framework: Develop a comprehensive leadership competency framework that delineates the essential skills, knowledge, and ethical standards required for effective leadership. Success will be measured by the adoption of this framework across organizations and its integration into leadership development programs.
  • Continual Professional Development: Create a system for ongoing professional development that ensures leaders remain up-to-date with best practices and ethical standards. Success measures will include participation rates in these development programs and their positive impact on leadership quality.
  • Professional Qualification: Establish a recognized and globally accepted professional qualification for leaders, including rigorous assessments and accreditation. Success will be achieved when a substantial number of leaders hold this qualification, reflecting their commitment to ethical and effective leadership.
  • Ethical Oversight: Institute ethical oversight mechanisms, such as a code of conduct and a disciplinary body, to ensure that leaders adhere to the highest ethical standards. Success will be evident in the adherence to these standards and a reduction in ethical violations.
  • Public Trust and Impact: Measure the societal impact of leaders by evaluating their contributions to the well-being of individuals, organizations, and society at large. Success will be demonstrated through increased public trust in leaders and tangible improvements in societal well-being attributable to effective leadership.


In A Nutshell

Why "good" Leadership?

Many people often argue that defining what is "good" and "bad" is either a matter of personal opinion or simple adherence to universal rules and compliance codes. However, we take a different stance. In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, we believe that emphasizing personal liberty or rigid adherence to universal rules, or even the promotion of sustainability frameworks, is insufficient to pursue a better future. Instead, we believe that we must nurture the capacity of individuals and organizations to become virtuous and responsible citizens-at-work. This involves embodying qualities like wisdom, inter-independence, compassion, justice and to promote generative dialogue. For us, "good" implies consistently acting in ways that enable social flourishing - of oneself, others, society, and the environment. Therefore, good leadership necessitates the ongoing development of character, virtues, and excellence, at all levels, along with measures to prevent leaders from causing unnecessary harm to the world.

How do you define "Leadership"?

We define Good Leadership as a "systemic process of generative collective learning and action to create a Good Society - catalyzed by Good Leaders" (see image above). Good Leadership transcends individual leaders, focusing on enhancing the collective capacity of organizations to act interdependently for the greater good of people, society and the planet. It necessitates the "nodal" co-elevation of leaders, organizations, and ecosystems - fostering communal inspiration and the upholding of virtues, moral identity and character - to enable collective and ecological flourishing.

  • Good Society: Our journey begins with envisioning the future we aspire to. Good leadership involves the collaborative shaping of a "good society," striving to achieve equitable and sustainable prosperity and justice for all.
  • Good Economy: We must re-embed our economy within society. A "good economy" must serve society to develop its highest potential through "good work".
  • Good Organizations: Leadership is always intertwined with its "institutional" environment. To foster good work, we must intentionally develop organizations, supporting individual growth, nurturing and co-elevating communities, and evolving governance, structures, policies, routines, norms, and incentives. Only if good organisations "create" good people, will we also create sustainable products and services.
  • Good Leaders: No organization can genuinely thrive without committed, capable and virtuous individuals. Continual role and job design, selection, and ongoing shared development of leaders are of paramount importance.

What makes your Leadership development unique?

Despite substantial annual investments in traditional leadership development, many training efforts ultimately prove ineffective. Often, they lack essential support from the leader's team and organization, overlook the holistic development needs of individuals, neglect responsible organizational and systemic change, and lack integration into a sustained learning process. Moreover, these programs often fall short in aligning with validated research and integrating personal development, leadership role specifics, and best practices for transformation.

In contrast, our innovative approach is centered on continual and collaborative action learning, striving for excellence at both the organizational and individual levels. We draw from various disciplines, including social and individual psychology, philosophy, management science, and medicine, to cultivate leaders' skills, character, and practical wisdom. Our model emphasizes practice-oriented, community-integrated learning rooted in research provided by the Good Leadership Institute. Members follow personalized learning pathways covering personal, cognitive, relational, and moral capacities, facilitating transformation for systemic impact. We actively involve our members in shaping these practices and provide support for specific change or volunteer projects. Our approach offers a lifelong journey of learning, guiding members to discover "the leader within" with the guidance of experienced peers. We also offer support for career development and continuity, contributing to the growth of members and the Society as a whole.

Why do we need a Good Leadership Society? 

Leadership plays a pivotal role in driving positive societal transformation. However, leadership is a systemic capacity and our current fragmented and often haphazard attempts to improve the skills and capabilities of individual leaders are insufficient. We need to co-create a collaborative effort to establish a platform for systemic change that unites the positive actions of individuals, organizations, and societies. Many leaders lack the necessary tools, skills, or support to make their best personal impact. Businesses often lack credible approaches to positively transform their organisations and, as a result, continue to single-mindedly pursue stock market returns, disconnected from the well-being of their communities. Governments lack credible counterparts, or are influenced by special interests when it comes to shaping the regulatory environment for the economy. Therefore, our Society is dedicated to bringing together the collective endeavors of good leadership across all levels. We aim to establish a powerful, lifelong, and trusted global association of peers who reflect, grow and learn together, and seek to transform themselves and their organisations to craft a better society for all.

Who is the Society for?

We stand as the natural "home" for all leaders, hailing from any type of organizations or background, who are wholeheartedly dedicated to the pursuit of personal and organizational transformation. Our members are welcomed for a lifetime, becoming integral parts of a thriving community that collectively commits to serving as stewards of a brighter future of work. In unity, we aim to: a) empower our organizations to generate positive value for stakeholders, society, nature, and future generations; b) weave networks of organizations and engage with other civic entities to catalyze societal advancement; c) provide the nurturing space for our members' personal growth. Every leadership role is a significant opportunity to impact the lives of others and contribute to making the world a better place, and as a Society, our unwavering commitment is to support one another in seizing these opportunities.

A new approach to leadership is desperately required


The Good Leadership Society is intended to be the independent professional association for Leaders.

We are the voice of Leaders and drive excellence in the profession to safeguard the integrity of business and society.

Individual excellence

Leadership is professionalised as lifelong development in and for the community

  • Unique methodology of personal and professional development
  • State of the art combination of formal and on-the-job learning
  • Peer-to-peer development and mentoring / coaching
  • Virtuous community with clear code of conduct
  • Qualified service providers

Organisational change

Leaders co-develop and implement practices to evolve organisations for good

  • Extensive library of organisational development good practices
  • Peer-led experimentation and co-evolution of sector- and organisation-specific insights
  • Organisational diagnosis and certification support
  • Validation of leadership training

civic engagement

The Leadership Society proposes new policies to enable the common good

  • Development of “alternative” measures and value assessment for businesses and the economy
  • Cooperative platform for development of good business governance, standards, policies
  • Strategic alliance of sustainable & responsible business initiatives
systemic impact

Leaders and organisations enable generative collective action across all stakeholders.

  • Leaders pledge “dual loyalty” to good leadership and local roles
  • Support for inter-company initiatives that foster sustainable change in society and ecosystem
  • Local chapters enabling societal dialogue and shared civic action
  • Global Alliance for Good Business

Arguments for and against leadership as a profession

The ongoing debate about professionalizing leadership involves strong arguments from both sides. Our perspective, summarized below, is based on the five fundamental criteria that are typically required for any field to attain professional status. In summary, while many valid concerns are being raised, we believe that these challenges can be addressed within the Society's operating model, rather than dismissing the professionalization of leadership altogether. As leadership quality continues to decline worldwide, it is essential to recognize that most previous highly fragmented efforts to improve leadership have fallen short and we must be willing to experiment in new ways.

Therefore, we maintain that professionalizing leadership is a crucial step in acknowledging the profound impact leaders can have on organizations and society at large. Much like doctors or lawyers, who possess asymmetric power over patients or clients, leaders exert significant influence, and the consequences of their decisions ripple throughout the world. To ensure that this power is wielded responsibly and ethically, establishing a framework of professional ethics and norms for leaders is imperative. This professionalization effort can help mitigate potential abuses of power, promote accountability, and ensure that leadership adheres to the highest standards of competence and integrity.

However, our project goes beyond academic debates on the qualifications of a "true" profession. It tackles the challenge of collective action to build a "good economy", emphasizing the necessity for leaders across organisations to establish a shared foundation in order to foster unity and scale while championing diversity in local solutions. Such common ground must extend beyond methodologies and tools, such as agile, or shared goals like the SDGs, and instead embrace a shared essence and ethos. Only then can leadership (and management) evolve into genuinely transformative practices for the good of all. As leaders play an increasingly pivotal role in shaping our future, professionalizing their practice becomes not only desirable within each individual organisation, but necessary across organisations to both safeguard the common good and continually develop the well-being of the people, society and planet.

A Professional Association

  • PRO- Expanding on Existing Organisations: Professions necessitate governing bodies that oversee their development, establish standards, and advocate the interests of practitioners. These associations are responsible for enforcing ethical codes, providing resources for their members, and setting guidelines. Organizations such as the International Leadership Association and the Center for Creative Leadership are already involved in promoting leadership development, and numerous smaller entities cover various aspects of professional services. We believe that an open "umbrella" organisation has the potential to loosely integrate and empower these organizations to evolve and more formally represent leadership as a profession. Moreover, it can create a community of leaders united in the spirit and commitment to help each other to develop for good.
  • CON- Lack of Clear Boundaries: In contrast to traditional professions like medicine or law, the realm of leadership lacks clearly defined boundaries. The roles and responsibilities of leaders can vary significantly among organizations and industries. Furthermore, leadership can emerge from anyone within an organization, not exclusively from individuals with formal leadership titles. Professionalizing leadership could potentially disregard these informal leaders. Finally, the willingness of professionals to join, let alone actively engage in any formal associations is low and probably in decline. These are all important points, but we believe that recognizing and nurturing informal leaders can be integrated into the professionalization process. More importantly, a leadership society can intentionally focus on individuals aspiring to undertake formal "institutional" leadership roles within organizations endowed with substantial degrees of power. Regarding leaders' motivation to join, our approach will primarily target those who are willing to dedicate themselves to their own development as "good leaders" from the outset.

A Body of Specialized Knowledge

  • PRO- A Need to Create Quality Standards: Professions enshrine a body of specialized knowledge, theories, and practices that set them apart from other domains. This knowledge base is continually refined through research and practical application, thereby contributing to the profession's development. Presently, leadership practices and models are proliferating within both theory, consulting and practice, often with limited quality control, assessment of effectiveness, or collaborative enhancement. Therefore, there is a strong case to establish a quality-assured body of knowledge, maintained and developed by qualified practitioners.
  • CON- Subjectivity and Context Dependency: Leadership is frequently regarded as subjective and context-dependent, with effective leadership styles and best practices varying across situations. The fluid nature of leadership and the unforeseeable challenges that leaders encounter impede the application of standardized professional knowledge. What proves effective for one leader or organization may not yield the same results for another. Furthermore, there is no unanimous consensus on a universal set of best practices for leadership, and leadership methodologies evolve as organizations, technology, and society undergo changes. Professionalization might encounter challenges in keeping pace with these ongoing transformations. These are important considerations, but similar dynamics can be observed within other professional domains. The professionalization process can adapt to encompass a variety of styles and practices while concentrating on fundamental competencies that are relevant across diverse contexts. It can also address ways to select the most suitable practices for specific situations. Importantly, professional competence is not solely about mastering a static body of knowledge; it entails the ability to apply knowledge to contingent circumstances. Furthermore, one of the aims of professionalization is to actively advance, enhance, and disseminate improvements within the knowledge domain, and to ensure that practitioners are obliged to maintain up-to-date training.

Specialized Education and Training

  • PRO- Improving quality of lifelong leadership development: Professions typically demand a structured educational and training system, often involving accredited academic programs and recognized qualifications or licenses. There is already a multitude of institutions offering leadership programs, degrees, and certifications. However, many of these programs provide formal education and training in leadership theory and practice without adequate academic rigor or quality control. The professionalization of leadership can establish standardized and accredited educational pathways, resulting in significantly higher-quality specialized knowledge and skills.
  • CON- Overemphasis on Formal Education: An excessive focus on formal leadership education and qualifications could potentially undervalue the importance of experiential learning, which often plays a crucial role in effective leadership development. Critics also contend that the professionalization of leadership may place too much emphasis on formal qualifications, potentially neglecting the significance of ethical conduct and personal character, which are fundamental for effective leadership. However, this underscores the importance of an ethical foundation and character development in any attempt to institutionalise leadership, and both are at the heart of our "good leadership" model.

Ethical Standards and a Code of Conduct

  • PRO- Necessity for a professional ethos for leaders: Professions adhere to established ethical principles and codes of conduct that practitioners are expected to uphold. These ethical standards are vital for preserving the integrity and trustworthiness of the profession. Leadership inherently entails ethical responsibilities. Many leadership organizations therefore already offer a plethora of ethical guidelines and codes of conduct for leaders. The existence of these codes underscores the potential for ethical standards in leadership and highlights the necessity for further standardization and rigorous implementation. In this context, "Good leadership" is grounded in explicit ethical foundations and the consistent commitment of leaders to operate in the best interests of all stakeholders and society at large. This is not easy and more than seeking to impose rules, our focus is in assisting leaders to develop and bring to life their own virtue and, by doing so, to inspire it in others.
  • CON- Few Arguments Against: There are few substantial arguments against this criterion, as the establishment of ethical standards for leaders is widely acknowledged as a necessity.

Regulatory Oversight

  • PRO- Increasing Potential for Formal Oversight: Many professions are subject to government regulation and oversight to ensure public safety and quality of service. This regulation can include licensing, certification, and legal requirements for practice. While leadership is not currently subject to regulatory oversight like traditional professions, there is certainly potential for government or industry bodies to establish licensing or certification requirements for certain leadership roles, or for organizations themselves to voluntarily require leadership qualifications for specific positions.
  • CON- Resistance to Oversight: Leaders often resist external oversight, and attempts at regulation may face strong opposition. Moreover, the leadership field currently lacks a clear regulatory body to enforce standards. However, it's important to note that while there may be justified resistance to bureaucratic or administrative oversight, the broader public's demand for ensuring that institutional leaders in positions of power can be held accountable for breaches of ethical standards or malpractice remains a valid concern. If nothing else, the Society can institutionalise a "norm circle" of individuals who are willing to exemplify and hold high the standards and the spirit of good leadership.


A Science-based and Empirically Validated Approach to Social Transformation

a coherent model for responsible transformation

  • A coherent underlying social ontology based on critical realism, system psychodynamics and complexity theory
  • A solid ethical foundation in virtue ethics and communitarian ethics to define good work, good organisations, good economy and good leadership
  • A multi-level social change model integrating individual and community development, organisational evolution and economic-societal transformation
  • An multi-disciplinary educational approach to develop wisdom in leadership, combining moral development, ego identity development, relational psychodynamics, professional practice, institutional development, and political statesmanship. 

Our Research

We plan to share crucial insights from our inquiry into the good organization operating and transformation model here. Meanwhile, you can explore foundational third-party research that informs our approach below. For a comprehensive list of these building blocks, please refer to the Our Research section.

Our scientific research is covering all the core concepts undergirding the Society's operating model to ensure highest quality of theory and practice


An open experiment in science-guided social change

The Global Society for Good Leadership is part of a pro bono initiative of “engaged scholarship”, called the Good Organisation inquiry, in partnership with the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland (a Top 5 European Business School).

Our aim is to inspire the ethical transformation of organisations, by researching, revising and reforming standards and best practices for responsible business governance and management, as well as leadership education. 

The project has four focus main work areas:

  1. Foundational research in organizational science and ethics to establish a coherent set of ethical principles for economy, organisations and leadership; 
  2. Certification and development of best practices and success measures for good organisations; 
  3. Professional qualification and education of leaders to inspire and support the ethical transformation of global and complex businesses, focused on practical wisdom; 
  4. Development of policy recommendations to regulate a good economy.

We aim to engage in active academia-practitioner dialogue across all four areas to develop an actionable body of knowledge for responsible business leaders by 2024. We will also collaborate with interested academic and educational institution to develop modules for good leadership development and create an initial prototype for a “Leadership Society” with interested professionals.

Further conversion of the prototype into a non-profit foundation and an active social movement to support the inter-institutional development of  Good Leadership theory and practice will dependent on the successful completion and testing of our theoretical models, as well as the interest and support from sponsors, organisations and individual leaders.

Please note that all content provided on our website is strictly non-commercial and offered primarily to stimulate critical dialogue and shared development with academics and practitioners. Thank you for being part of an urgent and necessary inquiry for the development of better business!

How the Leadership Society could operate

The Good Leadership Society: a global movement for good

The Leadership Society operates through a value-led community of members and partners to enable positive impact. The society fosters collective learning, development and action through member-led guilds and local chapters.

How does the Society work (for individuals)? 

The Leadership Society stands as a professional association with a firm commitment to promoting leadership excellence and developing the fullest potential of individuals, organizations, and society. Prospective members gain entry through a formal initiation process, which includes a character-focused entrance examination conducted with a senior member, followed by a trial period. All members pledge to uphold the professional code and practices of good leadership within their roles and actively contribute to the ongoing progress of the association. The Society operates as a collaborative and collegial organization, designed by professionals for professionals. Importantly, every member possesses voting rights in all pertinent assemblies.

How does the Society work (for organisations)?  

The Leadership Society extends a warm welcome to all organizations deeply dedicated to nurturing leadership excellence and effecting positive change, within and beyond their own boundaries. New organizational members are anticipated to subject their leadership roles to rigorous professional standards and ongoing development. Moreover, these organizations must be willing to actively foster an environment conducive to experimentation and the evaluation of sound leadership practices and transformative organizational approaches. All resulting good practices are collaboratively developed and shared with the Good Leadership Institute to ensure the highest possible professional standards and active dissemination within the Society. Importantly, the Society also promotes and facilitates inter-organizational collaborations as well as active engagement with local communities and volunteer initiatives, to foster synergetic efforts to improve both local and global economy.

What are chapters and guilds (draft naming)? 

Guilds are envisaged to be groups of members based on shared interest and expertise (sector, type of organisation etc). Their focus lies on creation and dissemination of good practices and policies. They would by enabled by a central research team ("Good Institute") to provide a reliable and validated knowledge management framework and platform. 

Chapters are meant to be a loosely federated network of local associations of members who subscribe to the Society charter, while being focussed on local or shared positive action. All chapters would be organised based on democratic principles and participation of all members.

Research and Academy

The Good Leadership Institute: an open platform to enable business wisdom 

The Institute’s core mission is to generate and integrate wisdom in leadership and make it accessible to leaders who want to transform their organisations and society for good. Our open platform is intended to connect and synergise the efforts of academia, practitioners, social actors and consultants/coaches who share our values and vision.


  • we conduct and enable leadership and organisational research in and with organisations of our members
  • we work with reputable institutions and academia to identify, integrate, validate and curate relevant knowledge
  • we develop evidence-based didactic tools and methodologies for the use of our Leadership Academy to enable impactful, actionable and rigorous development
  • we continually evaluate the impact of the Society and its collective action, practices and procedures, developing and supporting appropriate measures and audits and ensuring critical reflection with underrepresented voices
  • we qualify (and certify) members, organisations and partners
  • we develop insights and recommendations to support and influence communities and policymakers at different levels 

Benefits for Collaborators and Members

Academic researchers 

We empower engaged research projects by

  • Matching researchers with interested organisations
  • Enabling peer-driven research by bringing society members and researchers together
  • Ensuring the dissemination of research for a wide audience 

Member Organisations 

We support organisations and teams by ensuring their experiment yield superior insights through

  • Experimental validation strategies
  • Key indicators for measuring the progress towards good
  • Desktop research capacities 

Service and Content Partners

We develop, qualify and certify our service and content partners with

  • Evidence-based evaluation methods to qualify the effectiveness of the development methods to
  • Availabilities for co-learning whereby partners can become part of our research projects. 

Evaluation Partners 

We raise the impact of our evaluation partners by

  • Providing access to our organisational members
  • Offering co-services with our Academy
  • Sharing our insights on new good practices generated by members 

Action Partners: Crafting A Global Alliance for Good Business

Our intention is to create a shared and collaboratively led platform for positive social change, providing scale and opportunities for anyone who is supporting the objectives of the Society.

We are looking for partner organisations, communities and networks at all levels and for all components of our change and operating model to unite forces in an endeavour to scale positive transformation. What we ask for is an agreement on a set of basic principles, centered on our foundational ethics, and the willingness to co-elevate for the shared purpose of making work better. If you or your organisation are interested, please get in touch.

Learn more about how to get engaged as a member or partner, and the benefits of being part of our Global Alliance for Good!


Advisors and Advocates

A group of thought leaders who will guide the evolution of the book and ensure a wider Trans-disciplinary dialogue is generated, across business and society.

Leadership Expert

John Knights

Adjunct Professor of Business Administration


Guido Palazzo


We are currently in the process of updating our Advisory Board. In case of interest: info@leadershipsociety.world


Antoinette Weibel

President at the Institute for Work and Employment Research University of St. Gallen, Professor for HRM and Organization Transformation, Outgoing President of FINT (International Network of Trust Researchers), Executive Board Member of the Swiss Academy of Social Sciences and the Humanities. Passionate researcher and teacher in the fields of trust within and across organizations and hr/org practices leading to human thriving.


We are both passionate about developing organisations that are good for the people inside them, as well as good for the wider ecosystem. In our respective professional life we have tried to make a positive difference for several decades, and we feel it is time to bring together lessons learned - across academia and business, and across disciplines like philosophy, psychology, management science, sociology, anthropology, neuroscience. Our aim is to enable a global dialogue about how to craft good organisations and create a movement for positive change, to build back better.

Otti Vogt

Disruptive thinker, amateur poet, unacknowledged internet entrepreneur and passionate global C-level transformation leader with over 20 years of experience in implementing strategic business change in multi-cultural, complex organisations and in building global high performing teams to deliver sustainable shareholder value and happiness@work

Research Team


We are both passionate about developing organisations that are good for the people inside them, as well as good for the wider ecosystem. In our respective professional life we have tried to make a positive difference for several decades, and we feel it is time to bring together lessons learned - across academia and business, and across disciplines like philosophy, psychology, management science, sociology, anthropology, neuroscience. Our aim is to enable a global dialogue about how to craft good organisations and create a movement for positive change, to build back better.

Antoinette Weibel

President at the Institute for Work and Employment Research University of St. Gallen, Professor for HRM and Organization Transformation, Outgoing President of FINT (International Network of Trust Researchers), Executive Board Member of the Swiss Academy of Social Sciences and the Humanities. Passionate researcher and teacher in the fields of trust within and across organizations and hr/org practices leading to human thriving.

Otti Vogt

Disruptive thinker, amateur poet, unacknowledged internet entrepreneur and passionate global C-level transformation leader with over 20 years of experience in implementing strategic business change in multi-cultural, complex organisations and in building global high performing teams to deliver sustainable shareholder value and happiness@work
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Nelly Ovcharova

Marketing Director

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Silvio Christoffel

Head of Digital Transformation

Identifying and strengthening good organizations is necessary to master the pressing challenges of our time.

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Sara Fontanet

Communication & Community Director

Together we are stronger. The time has come to gather and reflect on how we can bring "goodness" in individuals, organisations and society as whole.


Getting in touch

INSTITUTE OF WORK AT UNI ST. GALLEN Institute for Work and Employment Research University of St. Gallen