Cultivating moral-relational judgement in business education: The merits and practicalities of Aristotle’s phronesis

Publisher:
Philosophy Documentation Center
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Business Ethics Education, 2016, 13 pp. 349 - 372
Issue Date:
2016-11-01
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In this paper we reflect on the question “what do we mean by teaching ‘business ethics’ at all?” In response we suggest that phronesis - a values-based disposition integrating practical and affective dimensions of practical knowledge - warrants consideration in addressing the topic of ethics but more broadly in legitimising university-based management education in the face of widespread public trust deficit in business and management education. In this paper we consider the Aristotelian origins of phronesis, including its distinctive connection to emotion and moral imagination, and apply a phronesis-based approach to postgraduate management education, providing illustrations of its practical usage. In doing so, we argue this goes beyond thinking of ‘business ethics’ as a stand-alone subject in business education, and instead provides management educators a framework within which to cultivate graduate capabilities in moral-relational judgement and a profession-like praxis. Doing so would help - post Global Financial Crisis - to ameliorate justifiable loss of public trust and confidence in university-based management qualifications.
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