Collective phronesis in business ethics education and managerial practice: a neo-Aristotelian analysis

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Colleges, School and Institutes


The aim of this article is to provide an overview of various discourses relevant to developing a construct of collective phronesis, from a (neo)-Aristotelian perspective, with implications for professional practice in general and business practice and business ethics education in particular. Despite the proliferation of interest in practical wisdom within business ethics and more general areas of both psychology and philosophy, the focus has remained mostly on the construct at the level of individual decision-making, as in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. However, he also made intriguing remarks about phronesis at the collective level in his Politics: remarks that have mostly eluded elaboration. The aim of this article is practical and revisionary, rather than exegetical and deferential, with respect to Aristotle. Nevertheless, just as most of the literature on individual phronesis draws on Aristotle’s exposition in the Nicomachean Ethics, the obvious first port of call for an analysis of collective phronesis is to explore the resources handed down to us by Aristotle himself. The lion’s share of this article is, therefore, devoted to making sense of Aristotle’s somewhat unsystematic remarks and the lessons we can draw from them about collective managerial phronesis and business ethics education.

Bibliographic note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s).


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Early online date8 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2021


  • Aristotle, Business ethics education, Collective phronesis, Managerial (business) practice, Wisdom of crowds