Professionalism in Business: Insights from Ancient Philosophy

19 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2012 Last revised: 31 Mar 2013

See all articles by Lila Despotidou

Lila Despotidou

Athens University of Economics and Business - Department of Management Science and Technology

Gregory Prastacos

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business

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Date Written: March 28, 2012

Abstract

Business schools have the responsibility to inspire professional culture in future managers. This means that they have to provide them not only with the expertise, knowledge and skills required in their field of specialization, but also with a sense of responsibility toward others and the society at large. This need has been increasingly evident during the period of the global financial crisis, and a number of initiatives have been reported by business schools worldwide to address the issue.

In this paper we examine the issue of professionalism in business management from two perspectives: business practice, and relation to ancient philosophy. Drawing from the literature, we propose a framework defining professionalism as composed of three patterns: a. possession of a systematic body of knowledge, b. commitment to a good broader than self-interest, and c. an overall ethical character of the activity and ethical conduct. We show how these patterns are reflected to the expectations that corporations have from business practitioners. We further demonstrate that the substantial elements of business professionalism are strongly related to core values and principles introduced in the social and political thought of ancient philosophers, and thus suggest that ancient philosophy could be used as a means for inspiring professionalism in business managers.

Keywords: leadership, professionalism, philosophy, best practices

Suggested Citation

Despotidou, Lila and Prastacos, Gregory, Professionalism in Business: Insights from Ancient Philosophy (March 28, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2030614 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2030614

Lila Despotidou (Contact Author)

Athens University of Economics and Business - Department of Management Science and Technology ( email )

Athens GR-11362
Greece

Gregory Prastacos

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business ( email )

Castle Point on Hudson
Hoboken, NJ 07030
United States

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