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Power, Responsibility & Wisdom: Exploring the issues at the core of Ethical Decision-Making and ... - page 11 / 13





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“The price of greatness is responsibility” (Winston Churchill)

"If you won't be better tomorrow than you were today then what do you need tomorrow for?" (Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav (1772-1811))

"You must be the change you want to see in the world." (Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948))

"The purpose of studying history is not to deride human action, not to weep over it or to hate it, but to understand it -- and then to learn from it as we contemplate our future.(Nelson Mandela)

“Concern for others is the best form of self interest” (Desmond Tutu)

What are the implications of these ideas for us all?

A Wise Society

In recent years we have seen considerable effort to move people from the idea of 'Working Harder' to 'Working Smarter'. But what is really needed is to move beyond 'Working Smarter' to 'Working Wiser'. We need to move from ‘The Knowledge Society’ to ‘The Wise Society’. And, the more we move along that progression, the more we need to recognise that we are moving to a situation where the important issues primarily reflect the quality of our values, rather than the quantity of our physical effort. If we want to improve the quality of our decision making, the focus needs not only to be on the quality of our information but, perhaps even more importantly, on the ‘right’ use of that information, hence the importance of improving the dialogue related issues mentioned earlier.

Stakeholder analysis can help understand the map of the Power/Responsibility relationships within decision-making processes. All decisions require trade-offs and this involves judgement between the interests of the various stakeholders, within a framework of a genuine concern for the long term - and the wider interest. It is also the case that where there is no common agreement over objectives, values are invariably the dominant agenda in any discussion. It is here that Wisdom reflected in both content, and process, can be critical. How often do we seem to be either obsessed with technology - or so focused on the experience of the here-and-now - that the issue of Wisdom appears to be virtually ignored? Are we really focused on what is important, rather than on just what is easy to measure?

One reason for the recent obsession with an information based approach is because that provides a relatively easy framework within which to get agreement of decisions. Any focus on the values dimension can make decision-making much more problematic. There are two answers to such a view: First, values are implicitly

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