Management Wisdom in Perspective: Are You Virtuous Enough to Succeed in Volatile Times?

Journal of Business Ethics 120 (3):1-12 (2014)
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Abstract

This paper addresses the question, how does wisdom contribute to management in circumstances of extreme unpredictability? We first discuss three key factors that fundamentally affect the conduct of business—human, knowledge, and the environment—as well as their characteristics and interactions. We then argue that managing the interaction between these factors to effectively deal with the complexity and unpredictability of a rapidly changing business world requires the appropriate application of wisdom, in particular ethics in the form of practical, moral, and epistemic virtues. We propose that these three virtues are the link between the three factors and more effective decision-making and action taking in an unpredictable business world. A model is developed that conceptualizes the interconnection among the three factors and three virtues. This model has important academic and practical implications. For practice, the model points the way for both individuals and organizations to improve decision-making skills through the systematic expansion of perspectives gained through consideration of the three virtues. For academics, the model is an incremental, but important step in understanding the role of wisdom in management.

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