Introducing Practical Wisdom in Business Schools

Journal of Business Ethics 82 (3):607-620 (2008)

Abstract

This article echoes those voices that demand new approaches and ‹senses’ for management education and business programs. Much of the article is focused on showing that the polemic about the educative model of business schools has moral and epistemological foundations and opens up the debate over the type of knowledge that practitioners need to possess in order to manage organizations, and how this knowledge can be taught in management programs. The article attempts to highlight the moral dimension of management through a reinterpretation of the Aristotelian concept of practical wisdom. I defend the ideas that management is never morally neutral and that Aristotelian practical wisdom allows the recovery of moral considerations in management practice. I analyze the impact and implications that the introduction of practical wisdom in business schools entails for the conception and objectives of management education. This view reconfigures management education in terms of attention to values, virtues and context. Therefore, management programmes should prepare students to critically evaluate what they hear and to make decisions coherent with their values and virtues. In the final section, I reflect on the pedagogical implications of this approach. I point out that an integrated model of ethics and practical wisdom promotes education of cognition and education of affect as well. I provide an example to illustrate my perspective and to support my conclusions.

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