Peltonen, Tuomo – Towards Wise Management

  • intelligence/ creativity/ wisdom. The wisdom is philosophical, the creativity is intuitive and the intelligence is analytical – this is the simplest definition of the perspective used by Tuomo Peltonen. Reffering back to Plato and his 1) allegory of the cave, 2) allegory of the sun and 3) allegory of the divided line, Peltonen is saying that wisdom is the couple of noesis (reason) + dianoia (intellect); of the sun + the reflections of natural things; of the Idea of Good + the mathematical objects. Also, continuing along this line of thought, creativity is pistis (belief), the fire in the cave, and the sun; while intelligence is eikasia (illusion), the shadows of crafted things, and the images. Those equivalences are more easy to grasp, however, when the reader is familiarised with the Platonic world-view – otherwise, some confusions could spring in his or her mind. See Table 1
  • episteme/ techne/ phronesis. According to Ikujiro Nonaka & Hirotaka Takeuchi, while episteme answers to the question of “why?”, techne answers to the question of “how?”. Episteme is a knowledge that is i) objective, ii) universal and iii) timelessness. It characterizes the “explicit knowledge”, being a praxis, a virtue. On the other hand, techne is a knowledge that is i) subjective, ii) particular and iii) time-oriented. When saying techne, we are saying “tacit knowledge” – a knowledge based on skills, on poiesis. As it is easy to guess, phronesis is the synthesizing glue of 1) episteme and 2) techne. Taking the manufacture of a car as example, episteme is the knowledge gathered in all the documents, books and article; while techne is the knowledge of how to make that car in the factory. Obviously, phronesis is both the knowledge of how to build that car, and the knowledge of why that car. And it goes further, taking in consideration the question of “what?”: what is considered a good car by customers in specific time and context. See Table 2
  • causality/ teleology/ reflexivity. Mats Alvesson & André Spicer have introduced this distinction that has many equivalents. First, causality as the relation between cause and effect is labeled “substantive reasoning”, “observation” and “actions”. By these labels Alvesson & Spicer are pointing to the “reflex” or “no thinking at all”. Secondly, the relation between means and ends, namely teleology, is named “justification”, “interpretation” and “meanings”. Elsewhere, the authors are naming teleology as “reflection” or “thinking inside the box”. And finally, reflexivity as the process of “thinking outside the box” traveled sometimes under the clothes of “questioning” and “assumptions”. Most probably this is a process involving thesis-antithesis-synthesis relations. In a nutshell, the distinction between those three terms is ignited by the questions we are trying to answer: 1) What is going on here? – for causality; 2) What do the natives think is happening here? – for teleology; and 3) What are the reasons why we are doing this? + What are the broader meanings of this? + What are the assumptions we are making here? (for reflexivity). See Table 3
  • golden fish. The worldview of Plato is espoused by Peltonen, the line of thought of Aristotle is continued by Nonaka & Takeuchi, while Alvesson & Spicer are writing from the perspectives of Kuhn, Burrell & Morgan. And these could be imagined like two types of water bowls: the philosophical water bowl (represented by Plato and Aristotle) is full of water for any philosophy is a completed and unitary perspective; on the other hand the scientific water bowl (for instance, the science designed by Kuhn, Burrell and Morgan) is a never ending process that could be grasped only fragmentary, this being the reason the bowl is half full and half empty of water. Once established this distinction between philosophy and science, more details could be added to the picture – like: the cave of Plato, the fact that the fish is either at the top of the bowl (Plato chased all his life the Ideas that where inhabiting the realms of Gods), or at the bottom of it (contrary to his master, Aristotle was focused more on the Earthy things), the threes developed by Aristotle, and so on and on. See Image.

Table 1:

Table 2:

Table 3:



  • Tuomo Peltonen (2019): “Towards wise management. Wisdom and stupidity in strategic decision-making”, Palgrave Macmillan, Springer International Publishing AG
  • Ikujiro Nonaka & Hirotaka Takeuchi (2019): “The wise company. How companies create continuous innovation”, Oxford University Press
  • Mats Alvesson & André Spicer (2016): “The stupidity paradox. The power and pitfalls of functional stupidity at work”, Profile Book Ltd

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