An Insight Into Wisdom

Professor Ursula Staudinger with AIM's Dr Malcolm Johnson FAIM and Professor Charmine Härtel of the University of Queensland

Wisdom is a quality frequently sought but rarely discovered - unless you attended a breakfast at Management House last month.

The Australian Institute of Management - Qld & NT hosted more than 100 people for an exclusive presentation by internationally acclaimed wisdom researcher Professor Ursula Staudinger. Her presentation entitled Being a Wise Manager gave breakfast attendees a rare opportunity to learn from one of the world's most insightful minds.

AIM Qld & NT General Manager Professional Development and Research Dr Malcolm Johnson FAIM said Professor Staudinger's presentation took the oxygen out of the room.

"She spoke about the plasticity of aging and how best to make use of its potential," Dr Johnson said. "With substantially increased life expectancy people will need to provide for a much longer retirement. Professor Staudinger explained that we need to think of aging in a more flexible way.

"Through training programs and education we can extend the effective thinking of an aging workforce providing there is also a change in the stereotype which is presently negative toward older workers. Having a positive view of old age which comes through more creative work structures later in life will extend a person's lifespan.

"Older employees in companies with positive old-age stereotypes are more motivated, more productive and the organisation receives the benefits from lower staff turnover. If you're cognitively healthy through education and work life variety there is a seven year extended lifespan," he said.

Professor Staudinger is Vice President of Jacobs University, Bremen and Founding Dean of the Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development. Prior to that, she was Senior Scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Human Development, which was largely responsible for beginning research into wisdom.

Professor Ursula Staudinger was in Brisbane visiting the Business School at the University of Queensland as an initiative of Professor Charmine Härtel. With her colleagues, Associate Professor Bernard McKenna and Associate Professor David Rooney, Professor Hartel is enhancing the capacity for wisdom planning in Australia's workforce.


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