Handbook of Research on Management Ideas and Panaceas
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Handbook of Research on Management Ideas and Panaceas

Adaptation and Context

Edited by Anders Örtenblad

Over time management ideas and panaceas have been presented alternately as quick fix cures for all corporate ills and the emperor’s new clothes, beset by flaws and problems. This Handbook provides a different approach, suggesting that management ideas and panaceas should not be either adopted or rejected outright, but gives guidance in the art of assessing and applying management ideas and panaceas to various situations and contexts.
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Chapter 25: Global wisdom: not a panacea, but absolutely necessary for transcending managerial failures

Nancy J. Adler


Few of us question the need for wisdom, yet to date academic scholarship has rarely addressed the role that wisdom plays in supporting organizational processes capable of addressing the world’s most demanding societal challenges. This chapter explores the nature of pragmatic wisdom. The overarching focus is on those understandings that can be used to make a positive difference in the world. The chapter uses the founding of a new international development initiative, Uniterra, to highlight the need for and influence of wisdom in organizational processes and outcomes, not as a panacea, but as a necessity. The chapter therefore investigates the wisdom needed to create and maintain various aspects of global partnering. Because the chapter focuses on pragmatic wisdom, it also explores the concepts of hope and courage, for without hope and courage, wisdom could never move from conceptualization to action. Beyond discussing wisdom in the context of a specific situation, it attempts to offer possibilities to experience wisdom via a series of indigenous wisdom sayings (proverbs) from many of the world’s more pragmatic wisdom traditions.

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