By the end of the Winter 2017 semester this faculty blog site
will be shutting down.
Learning — It is all learning — We are all in this together
I have had the privilege of knowing Jon Dron for some years and although we have never physically shaken hands, I consider him a friend and key contributor to the global conversation on open and distance education.
Welcome to today’s rich and wonderful virtual world of post-secondary education. Jon is a cosmopolitan researcher, professor, and Chair of the School of Computing and Information Systems at Athabasca University. He is a prolific writer and insists that his work is open and available to all. His published books, peer-reviewed papers, and other documents are all freely available.
One of his recent blog postings touched upon a theme I am passionate about – learning. The article, like much of Jon’s writing should cause further questions and push the bounds of our understanding about teaching, learning, and education.
If you ever had any question about the cost of war you might take a moment to watch the following video. It has a US slant but it does capture the essence of the costs on a global scale – (Choose the interactive version — the left hand choice on the screen)
An interesting approach to business ethics
Konno, N., Nonaka, I., & Ogilvy, J. (2014). Virtue-based management. World Futures, 70(1), 19-27. doi: 10.1080/02604027.2014.875719
Drawing on Alasdair MacIntyre’s book, After Virtue, we criticize current approaches to business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Both Kantian approaches that stress the importance of good intentions, and utilitarian approaches that stress the importance of good results come under MacIntyre’s critique, as do Moore’s ethical intuitionism and Stevenson’s emotivism. In their place, a return to Aristotle shows us the importance of good habits, good practices, and the unity of the several virtues. The example of Winston Churchill is used to illustrate virtue-based leadership.
To summarize, our advocacy of virtue-based management is not merely another call for corporate social responsibility, as if we could make the world a better place by turning corporations into kinder, gentler, nicer entities than they are or can be. Following Aristotle, Machiavelli, and Alasdair MacIntyre, we believe that, in order to be pragmatically effective, good executives need to be people of virtuous character. Virtú will sometimes manifest in ways that are virile to the point of ruthlessness. Steve Jobs did not build Apple by being a nice guy. And women are as capable as men at exercising such virility (viz., Meg Whitman and Margaret Thatcher).
Again following Aristotle, Machiavelli, and MacIntyre, we believe that—barring bad Fortuna—acts performed by people of virtuous character are more likely to produce not just profits, but also public goods. Wisdom is one of the virtues. The pursuit of short-term profits at the expense of longer-term sustainability is, ultimately, stupid. The wise leader will see the big picture and the long view. The phronetic leader will have the character and capacities to help get us there.