The nature and role of wisdom in organisations
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[German title: Die Eigenschaft und Rolle von Weisheit in Organisationen]

Title: What do we need to know about wisdom? 
Author(s): Jennifer Rowley 
Journal: Management Decision 
ISSN: 0025-1747 
Year: Volume: 44 Issue: 9 Page: 1246 – 1257 
DOI: 10.1108/00251740610707712 
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited 

Abstract: Purpose – The article seeks to open the debate on the nature and role of wisdom in organisations.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper conducts a review of the diverse writing on wisdom in the literatures of philosophy and psychology, and gathers in a number of passing references to wisdom in the knowledge management and management literatures. Its aim is to gather together existing views on the nature and relevance of wisdom in the context of management and organisations. This review is structured using the following four questions: why might wisdom be important in organisations? What is wisdom, and what is its relationship to knowledge? What is the link between wisdom and leadership? What is organisational wisdom and how can it be cultivated?
Findings – Building on previous literature, definitions are proposed for wisdom, organisational wisdom, wisdom management and triple loop learning. Wisdom is defined as the capacity to put into action the most appropriate behaviour, taking into account what is known (knowledge) and what does the most good (ethical and social considerations). Wisdom is identified as a central element of leadership. The concept of organisational wisdom translates wisdom from the individual to the organisational level, and poses the need to consider the processes associated with wisdom management. The conclusion uses this review as a platform to pose a number of further questions about wisdom in organisations.
Practical implications – An enhanced understanding of wisdom and related concepts such as organisational wisdom, managerial wisdom and wisdom management has the potential to provide a valuable contextualisation for knowledge management theory and practice, and other aspects of organisational behaviour that can support business performance and success.
Originality/value – Despite being identified as a capstone concept in the relationship between data, information and knowledge, neither the concept of wisdom within organisations nor the processes associated with the cultivation of wisdom have received much attention in the knowledge management, organisational learning or management literatures. This paper provokes further debate about wisdom by drawing on the diverse literatures that explore wisdom and reflecting on the relevance of wisdom in the context of management and organisations. 

Keywords: Knowledge management, Learning organizations 

Article Type: Research paper 

Article URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/00251740610707712

© Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


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