Dear prudence: An essay on practical wisdom in strategy making

Social Epistemology 21 (2):151 – 167 (2007)
Abstract
If we presume an organizational ontology of complex, dynamic change, then what role remains for strategic intent? If managerial action is said to consist of adaptive responsiveness, then what are the foundations of value on the basis of which strategic decisions can be made? In this essay, we respond to these questions and extend the existing strategy process literature by turning to the Aristotelian concept of prudence, or practical wisdom. According to Aristotle, practical wisdom involves the virtuous capacity to make decisions and take actions that promote the "good life" for the "polis". We explore contemporary interpretations of this concept in literature streams adjacent to strategy and determine that practical wisdom can be developed by engaging in interpretative dialogue and aesthetically-rich experience. With these elements in view, we re-frame strategy processes as occasions to develop the human capacity for practical wisdom.
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