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Developing practical management wisdom

Paul S. Gibson (Graduate School of Business, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 23 May 2008




This paper aims to propose and explain a procedure for developing practical wisdom in novice managers.


A heuristic model of practical management wisdom which articulates and displays its dynamic nature was constructed from the literature. The model was then applied to two recently published narrative accounts of effective management, and to an empirical case study that was conducted by the author, to test the heuristic value of the model for novice managers.


The literature review revealed that practical wisdom relies on a dynamic interaction between perception, experience, character, and an insightful vision of what is proximately and ultimately good for people, organizations, and business. The applications of the model demonstrated its capacity to illuminate the thinking and actions of senior managers for novices.

Research limitations/implications

Further empirical evaluation of the model is required to confirm its heuristic value.

Practical implications

The model and the applications reported in this paper should be of use to academics and human resources practitioners interested in the professional development of managers within classroom settings and organizational settings.


The heuristic model is an advance in that it brings together and integrates a wide range of views about the factors that constitute and enable the operation of practical management wisdom. The applications commence the task of enriching the abstract model with illustrative examples, and provide a practical means of assisting novice managers to understand what has often been considered ineffable and inaccessible.



Gibson, P.S. (2008), "Developing practical management wisdom", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 528-536.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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