Conceptualising managerial and leadership wisdom - how many wise managers and leaders do you know?
conference contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by C Pedersen, W Ellsum
The term ‘wisdom’ is used frequently in terms of managerial and leadership functioning and development. However, when asked ‘How many wise managers and leaders do you know?’ most people struggle to firstly name people and secondly, to explain what ‘wise or wisdom’ means because they tend to consider wisdom from a particular paradigm – philosophical, spiritual, cultural, psychological or ethical. This conceptual paper raises different perceptions of the meaning of ‘wisdom’ before broadly critiquing literature that deals with wisdom in terms of philosophical, spiritual, cultural, psychological and ethical constructs. This leads to summations that wisdom is largely contextual – someone might be considered wise in one context but not in another – and that a knowledgeable person is not necessarily a wise person. However, wisdom appears to comprise elements of knowledge, integrity and compassion. The paper then discusses wisdom as an ethical construct in management and leadership and concludes with a conceptual discussion of the vexed question ‘can wisdom be developed?’