Labor as exchange in Saint-Exupéry: Thinking about how the three dimensions of labor are linked

Emmanuel d’Hombres

Table of Contents


This article focuses on the contributions to management of the conception of labor in Saint-Exupéry’s Citadelle. Having presented the “hermeneutic schema” (Sabot 2002), which establishes the methodological framework, labor as exchange in management is briefly presented so that Saint-Exupéry’s vision of work as exchange then appears in all its originality. Here, the worker exchanges his or her life with eternity, to tear away from the grips of time that lead to death, by moving to the empire, through the work accomplished. The paper shows how, thanks to Saint-Exupéry’s thought, the three dimensions of work can be linked, using the Gomez (2013) model. By carrying out work for money in order to consume, the worker gives him or herself to the empire. This gift makes him or her a better being. This connection is appropriate for questioning three elements of the managerial context: the link between work and success in life, the difficulties of short employment cycles, and the consideration of the stakeholders.

JEL classification: A12


  • Saint-Exupéry
  • work
  • worker
  • management
  • exchange