Embodied Phronetic Pedagogy: Cultivating ethical and moral capabilities in postgraduate business students

Academy of Management
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Academy of Management Learning and Education, 2020
Issue Date:
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cholars debate the issue of how to improve Business Ethics Education (BEE) such that it has an impact on managerial practice. We contribute to this discussion by proposing a pedagogy that we denominate embodied phronesis. We developed the pedagogy and applied it for over five years at an Australian business school. Embodied phronesis is based on experiential learning and cultivates students’ ethical-moral capabilities by integrating normative aspects (a reflection on ethical principles informing decisions); behavioural factors (the role of emotions and pre-conscious reactions in shaping ethical behaviour); and social determinants (a consideration of power relations enabling and constraining ethical practice in organizations). To understand the impact of this pedagogy, we analyse reflective diaries written by postgraduate business students who completed a course designed according to these principles. We find that embodied phronesis enables students to shift from a technical, values-free conception of managerial action to a view of management as ethical and moral practice. Our pedagogy allows students to deal with the complexities inherent in business ethics while simultaneously illustrating that there are not simple answers to the problem ‘how to be ethical in a business context’.
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