This textbook aspires to be a stepping stone in your path to developing your wisdom. In the following chapter, this textbook presents a more detailed overview of organizational wisdom.
Brace yourself. We rely on wisdom to help us navigate situations of complexity and ambiguity. Consequently, it defies a simple definition. Wisdom is not a single attribute but rather a collection of skills, perceptions, and attitudes. The three structures of wisdom (values, rationality, and power), however, will give us a guiding framework to understand this complex phenomenon.
What wisdom is
- The actions we define as wise depend on our perception of the social context in which the action occurs and personal and cultural attitudes.
- The three structures of wisdom: (1) Values guide wise action, (2) Knowledge is required, but insufficient for wise action, (3) Wisdom is action-oriented
Whether we can teach wisdom
- Wisdom itself cannot be taught because
- It is impossible to emulate real-world complexity in the classroom.
- We rely on wisdom when knowledge is insufficient, so who is to say what is “wise.”
- Wisdom is subjective
- People acquire wisdom over a lifetime of experience.
- Wisdom is doing the right thing in the real world, not the classroom.
How to develop the attributes that lead to wisdom
- You can develop the skills upon which wise people rely.
- Learn the role values play in organizations and how they interact
- Develop critical thinking skills and awareness that different people understand the world differently. Be willing to learn from others.
- Understand how power operates in your organization so that you can act effectively