Proverbs 25:15 “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.”
“Life is composed of waiting periods. The child must wait until he is old enough to have a bicycle, the young man until he is old enough to drive a car, the medical student must wait for his diploma, the husband for his promotion, the young couple for savings to buy a new home. The art of waiting is not learned at once.” Howard Whitman
Patience and its implications for ethical leadership in organisations
Professor M. E. Smurthwaite, Department of Applied Ethics, St Augustine College of South Africa.
This paper argues that while our globalised world shows little evidence of or inclination towards patience, we should reconsider this so-called unpopular and seemingly neglected virtue and what its practice might mean for ethical leadership in business organisations. The paper therefore examines not only the meanings and associations of patience, but also seeks to develop a richer and more nuanced understanding of the term within a virtue ethics framework. It is such an understanding that illustrates both the importance and the applicability of patience in ethical leadership within organisations.
Patience and Organizational Leadership
Marilise. E. Smurthwaite
Professor Marilise Smurthwaite is head of the Department of Applied Ethics at St Augustine College of South Africa, where she lectures in business ethics. Her areas of research and publication include issues on the corporation and economic justice in South Africa, Catholic Social Thought, especially as an ethical framework for examining the economy and related issues, and ethical business leadership. Her publications include work on the purpose of the corporation, the unequal distribution of wealth in South Africa, executive remuneration, governance and Catholic social teaching, the moral responsibilities of leaders in various sectors, and ethics in banking. She is a member of the International Society of Business, Economics and Ethics (ISBEE) and in 2010 was one of the sub-regional coordinators for the Global Survey of Business Ethics. She has also addressed conferences, given workshops and presentations on ethics and politics, ethics and corruption, economic justice and ethical leadership and has participated in both radio and television broadcasts on morality, ethics and business ethics.