Volume 13, 2016
Ali Intezari, David Pauleen, David Rooney
The PhD as a Path to Enhancing Knowledge, Wisdom and Creating a Better World
With the excessive emphasis that modern PhD training places on the epistemological contribution of the thesis, a question that arises is: do PhD programmes help PhD students achieve philosophia – “love of wisdom”, or do the programmes just facilitate deepening and developing students’ knowledge? This paper challenges the modern approach to PhD training and by extension all academic research, and considers phronesiology, a wisdom-based approach to research design, to add value to traditional epistemic methodologies. In illustration, we use phronesiology and social practice wisdom principles to reflect on the merits of a recently completed empirical study of wise managerial decision-making. Through a reflective analysis, this paper demonstrates that phronesiology not only allows for contributions to knowledge, but can, as a matter of principle and choice, also increase research practitioner wisdom. In doing so, this may enable researchers to implement better and more comprehensive intellectual and practical outcomes that deal effectively with the economic, social, political, and environmental complexities of the contemporary world. Further, we argue that such a wisdom approach is more “practical” than further instrumentalizing PhD training. The paper offers a series of phronetic reflective questions for PhD researchers in social sciences, especially in organizational and management fields, to consider when designing and carrying out research.