Professionalism in Business: Insights from Ancient Philosophy
20 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 18, 2013
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 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 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.
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