Michael J. Kerrigan

character scholars

In previous posts I have made clear that both leadership and character development are legitimate academic undertakings. I have also stated that the former has outpaced the latter, at least in terms of student participation, funding and breadth of publications

Notwithstanding this gap, I just received very magnanimous explanation of why the gap exists. Here follows an excerpt of that explanation from the Dean of one of the country’s elite leadership schools.

Character is harder, starts earlier. Leadership as I see it, comprises a set of skills that can be learned at most any time. Character is a (the?) critical attribute of a person’s underlying nature, which determines how one interacts with other people: morality, honor, thrift, honesty, reliability, etc. If you think leadership is hard, try fixing character…oh wait, you are! There have been many effective leaders of relatively low character, and high character people who were not effective… Continue reading


Last post I suggested ethics and effectiveness were two criteria of good leadership. Also discussed was the impact of Machiavelli on leadership. Probing deeper into another insight of Machiavelli, in this instance, his endorsement of the art of deception… (”You must be a great liar… a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived,” *) how then do leadership scholars deal with lying in the context of their ethics criteria?

While lying may be useful to get ahead and is commonplace in today’s culture, one would think lying is a point of divergence between leadership and character scholars. Recently, I came across a study that may tell it all, namely: “Nobody Likes a Rat, On the Willingness to Report Lies and the Consequences Thereof.”**

Do you think we would need the Securities and Exchange Commission if corporations never misstated their financial statements? As… Continue reading

For the last several weeks, I have reached out to character scholars and other academics asking that they more skillfully, embrace the future of technology’s impact on character education.

Might Technology Provide Character Education A Needed Upgrade?

Will The Fast-Moving System Of Technology Bend The Character   Culture?

Who Will Be First To Use Machine Learning For Character Education?

Character Education Free But Pay for Personalization

In other posts I have encouraged academics to steadily turn their attention to the sphere of social networking and collaboration.

Character Scholars And Ordinary Citizens Could Create A Character Wiki

Could Character Scholars Cooperate By Creating Platform Synergy?

Time For Character Scholars To Participate In The Sharing Economy

Can Character Ventures Be Commercially Funded?

I have asked these scholars to address the apparent gap between the cultures of intellectual elites and the ordinary public. One way to do so is to reconsider their… Continue reading

A copyright license, such as Creative Commons, would encourage character scholars to legally allow their text and images to be used and improved by others through an open source character WIKI platform without the need for additional permission. The rise of ubiquitous file sharing sites is another step toward collaboration since it makes it very easy to begin one’s creations with something already created.

Collaborative commenting sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Pinterest, and Tumblr enable ordinary folks to find images, photos, news items and ideas drawn from professional sources and friends. These sites act as collaborative filters heralding a new way to harness community action. In my opinion, it is time for professionally created character content be crafted less by the author alone. Rather it is my hope that character scholars scale up by participating in the sharing economy. By using digital tools that promote collaboration, aggregation, coordination and adhocracy… Continue reading

Kevin Kelly points out the old ways to organize work, namely a firm and marketplace are being enhanced by platform synergy. Rather than relying on a “marketplace” using the “invisible hand to allocate resources more efficiently, “a platform” is something new.

It is a foundation created by a firm that lets other firms build products and services upon it. Think of Microsoft’s Operating System (OS) where anyone could build and sell a software program that ran on the OS owned by Microsoft. Note how Lotus 1-2-3 the first spread sheet became a mini platform. Note more recently how ITunes creates levels of highly independent products and services forming an ecosystem that rests upon the Apple platform. Facebook is another example of a platform ecosystem that became a multisided market.

Perhaps an innovative character scholar might team with a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur to create a character, application programming interface (API)… Continue reading

As the reader will note from my most recent posts, Kevin Kelly’s, The Inevitable has influenced my thinking greatly. The dream of a universal library with all books, all documents, all conceptual works, in all languages, all connected is an old dream. The reality is not very far from Wikipedia. Kelly notes most of its 34 million pages are crammed with words underlined, indicating those words are hyperlinked to concepts elsewhere in the encyclopedia. This tangle of relationships is precisely what gives Wikipedia and the web, its immense force.

My more modest vision is to network all character books, all character documents, all conceptual works on character, in all languages to a Character Wikipedia. Perhaps character scholars and academics could work with the book sharing site Goodreads to create a connected digital library on character. Unlike the current state of character scholarship which is largely restricted to the elites, the… Continue reading

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