Prudence as an ethical foundation for risk management

Marshall, Alasdair and Ojiako, Udechukwu and Abdoush, Tony and Vasilakos, Nicholas and Chipulu, Maxwell (2024) Prudence as an ethical foundation for risk management. Society and Business Review, 19 (1). pp. 113-131. ISSN 1746-5680 (

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Purpose: This paper aims to draw on historical conceptions of true and false prudence within the broader context of virtue ethics ideas, to create a prudence framework for developing risk-and-ethics cultures in organisations. Design/methodology/approach: The authors use a theoretical analytical approach as a means of examining plausible representations of risk as ethical practice. Findings: While the ethical ideal of true prudence is explained primarily with reference to psychological theories of generativity, false prudence is explained as undesirable, primarily with reference to psychological problems of narcissism and the broader dark triad. True and false prudence are represented as centring upon very different motivations for foresight, each of which might set the cultural tone for organisational risk management. Originality/value: This paper’s main contribution is therefore to call attention to the benefits for organisations of reflecting upon differences between true and false prudence when planning the risk management they want.