Helge Löbler, Ph.D.

Institut für Service und Relationship Management ISRM Universität Leipzig
Grimmaische Str. 12, Raum 473
04109 Leipzig

Phone: 0341 / 97 33 750
Fax: 0341 / 97 33 759
Web: www.marketing.uni-leipzig.de

Helge Löbler is Professor of Management and Marketing and director of the Institute for Service and Relationship Management at the University of Leipzig, Germany. He studies Cybernetics and Economics at the universities of Stuttgart and Bonn holds an PhD in Economics. He received an award for his outstanding contributions to the 12th International Colloquium in Relationship Marketing. He has lectured at different international Universities like, University of Tartu, Estonia, University of Houston, Texas, USA, Georgetown University, Washington D. C., USA, American University, Washington D. C., USA, University of Maryland, USA, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou, VR China, Peking Institute of Technology, Peking, VR China. Together with one of his colleagues he has set up the SMILE program which is the Self Management Initiative in Leipzig and tries to support students to become who they are in relation to others. His main research area is social constructionism and its “impact” on communication and service.

When I read the “Limits to Grows” in the seventies of the last century I decided to learn what the club of Rome had done. But immediately the question came up to which university program I should apply. Hence I wrote letters to professors, book-authors and others to find out what to study? I got wonderful answers, one for example by Niklas Luhmann who of course recommended to study sociology. Surprising or not everybody who answered my inquiry recommended his or her own field. I was confused on a higher level. Great, I had to make my own decision and couldn’t blame others for it.

Currently I firstly try to conceptualize communication without the concept of meaning. Or to put it differently why do people think that terms have meaning. I was inspired to think about this especially because I was invited to a conference where judges met every year. The organizer who is also a good friend of mine asked me whether I think I could contribute to these conference. And I loved this challenge because I read a book written by Berd Rüthers (a law professor) about “the unlimited interpretation” (Die unbegrenzte Auslegung). In this book the author analyses how the same law text has been interpreted very, very differently during the last century (In German and Germany). And I discussed this book with my friend (a judge) and we came up with the question “are there any limits of interpretation and if so where and how”? So I presented my ideas to an audience of thirty judges mainly saying that practices are connected to words and that these practices limit the interpretation of the words in question. Hereby I understand practices as “praktiken” instead of “praxis”, which is of course a German distinction. However I found Schatzki’s work on Practice Theory very supportive. It may be in line with Kenneth Gergen’s argument to go beyond textuality. I presented the practices a s some kind of “implicit reality” (comparable to the “lebensweltlicher Hintergrund” in an Habermas’ian language which disappears when made explicit) as I found out that many people seem to have difficulties in thinking the world just as socially constructed….

Secondly I try to conceptualize “service” as a fundamental way of co-existence. Service happens in nature (without humans) and in the man made world. And I found some denominators for service in these different worlds. I am interested in the ongoing process of exchange and change which “keeps the world together”. Social science and economics in particular have focused very much on exchange neglecting change and the conditions of change. I hope to (re?)-integrate humans and nature. Even if we socially construe our world we are somehow embedded in nature and cannot overcome physical or biological “laws”. But we need a modern way of thinking both worlds together and my hope is that service can serve here…..

Since I think that there is a reality beyond words and language I love art and to play clarinet with others in particular.