In today’s organizations, the need for practical wisdom capabilities is acute, because change and complexity make many routines or ‘best practice’ approaches ineffective in bringing about well-being, purposeful action and strong performance in organizations, let alone a healthy planet. At many levels, practices and business models need be re-invented to achieve those outcomes.
As frustrating as such complex challenges can be, they also point to available solutions: Leaders and groups can become more wise, ready to craft anwers. With systematic development of practical wisdom capabilities such as strong deliberative thinking and decision-making skills, methods for tapping into group intelligence, relational responsiveness, and adaptive action praxis for effective action in complex and uncertain situations, you and your organization can function as a wise force in the world.
Rooted in Aristotle’s philosophy, practical wisdom (phronesis) describes wisdom relevant to practical action, implying both good judgement and excellence of character and habits. This capability is most needed in leaders, groups, and organizations when facing challenges without easy answers. The presence of practical wisdom becomes tangible in the conduct of people, context-sensitive desicion-making and in the results of actions: They bring about “human flourishing”, both individually and collectively. In the 21st century, it becomes important to add: “And a healthy planet to sustain this human flourishing.”
Phronesis (practical wisdom) is differentiated from the two other human ‘excellences’ Aristotle addresses:
· Techne, a term encompassing discipline-specific skills, technical knowledge and know-how
· Episteme, abstract thinking and scientific insight.
Phronesis often draws on both of the above excellence domains, integrating them into decision-making processes and when moving into action.
Dignity provides a lens which can inform the development of thriving organization cultures, employee engagement, diversity & inclusion, leadership, conflict resolution, teams and change processes. Below are selected readings and resources. We offer introductory workshops and virtual sessions as well as fuller processes for leader and organization development.
Fukuyama, F.(2019), Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, London, UK: Profile Books
Hicks, D. (2011), Dignity - its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict, New Haven: Yale University Press
Hicks, Donna (2018), Leading with Dignity, New Haven: Yale University Press
Hodson, R. (2001), Dignity at Work, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press
Kant, I. (1785), Groundwork of the metaphysic of morals, Koenigsberg: Harvard Business Press
Pirson, M. (2019), A Humanistic Perspective for Management Theory: Protecting Dignity and Promoting Well-Being, Journal of Business Ethics (159: pp. 39-57)
http://humanisticmanagement.network/ Humanistic Management Network