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Wisdom and now managerial wisdom: do they have a place in management development programs?

Michael W. Small (Curtin Business School, Bentley, Australia)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 1 September 2004



The study of “wisdom” is a subject normally outside the traditional bounds of management studies. Recent financial scandals and management blunders suggest that the time is ripe to introduce, via management development programs, an introductory study into the nature of “wisdom”, and followed by further study into the nature of “managerial wisdom”. Decisions are being made by people practising management which demonstrate that they do not know how to exercise good judgement, nor do they demonstrate that they have an understanding of what it means to be “wise”. This paper looks at the way philosophers have addressed the topic of wisdom from Greco‐Roman times. It includes references to wisdom in history and literature. The paper summarises some of the ideas and developments of more recent research published in psychology journals. It is an extension of ideas expressed in an earlier paper published in this journal viz. “Philosophy in management: a new trend in management development”. Both these papers suggest that management development studies should include areas of study more akin to the great classical tradition, where education is aimed at developing the “whole person”. An introductory study of “philosophy in management”, and “wisdom” in particular, are seen as two ways of expanding the present offerings in management studies



Small, M.W. (2004), "Wisdom and now managerial wisdom: do they have a place in management development programs?", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 23 No. 8, pp. 751-764.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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