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Moral Complexity in Leadership: Greed How Much Land Does a Man Need? by Leo Tolstoy


The "Moral Complexity in Leadership" series of cases and teaching notes help business instructors harness the power of fiction to prepare students for the moral and ethical dilemmas they will face throughout their careers. Meaningful fiction challenges students intellectually and emotionally; it reveals the inner worlds of human players and enables learning that can be difficult to access through case studies, commentary, or reporting. Through literature, students will wrestle with the kinds of problems they will face as leaders looking to make courageous decisions aligned with their moral codes.

The works in this series represent a wide range of settings, viewpoints, and cultural frameworks; the characters are complex and contradictory, and the systems within which they operate (whether family, organizational, or cultural) influence them in varied ways. They have been taught to executive, full- and part-time MBA student audiences for many years.

The series aims to increase students' understanding of moral frameworks and enhance their skills in facilitating and participating in healthy and productive dialogue about complex and provocative issues.

In this installment of the series, "Greed," we examine Leo Tolstoy's "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" This classic tale of a man who forfeits everything in his pursuit of more land gives students an opportunity to discuss how comparison and escalating acquisitiveness (greed) affect them in their professional and communal circles. It also creates an opportunity for meaningful discussion of ways to identify and manage the human tendency to want more.




Brooke Vuckovic, Rebecca Talbot

Date Published



Vuckovic, Brooke, and Rebecca Talbot. Moral Complexity in Leadership: Greed How Much Land Does a Man Need? by Leo Tolstoy. Case 5-322-503 (KE1241).


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