Ethical Leadership and Star Trek’s Captain Kirk

business_ethics_highlights_2Devoted Trekkies (and many others) will recall the bit from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in which we learned that James T. Kirk had, as a young cadet many years before, had reprogrammed a battle simulation computer to get it to let him win what was supposedly a no-win situation. Was this cheating, or innovation? The piece linked before provides a novel take on the question. >>>

LINK: The Philosophy of Star Trek: The Kobayashi Maru, No-Win Scenarios, And Ethical Leadership (by Janet D. Stemwedel for

…Young James T. Kirk reprogrammed the Kobayashi Maru because he didn’t grasp the point of the simulation. Kirk thought it was a test of whether in the circumstances you could succeed in saving everyone. On that basis, he thought the circumstances were unfair (since there was no way to save everyone), so he changed them.

In fact, the Kobayashi Maru was meant to find out how the cadet responds when it becomes clear that you can’t save everyone….

What do you think?

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