Organizational learning, knowledge and wisdom

Paul E. Bierly III (James Madison University, Virginia, USA)
Eric H. Kessler (Pace University, New York, USA, and)
Edward W. Christensen (Monmouth University, West of Long Branch, New Jersey, USA)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Publication date: 1 December 2000


To improve our understanding of the impact of organizational learning and knowledge on competitive advantage, we propose a framework that includes the constructs of data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. Each of these constructs is then associated with a different type of learning. We further argue that wisdom is an important, albeit missing, construct in the knowledge‐based theory of the firm. A key to organizational wisdom is judgement and decision making, which requires an understanding of the complexity of a situation, but also requires the ability to make sense and simplify so that action can be taken. Three important drivers for the development of organizational wisdom are experience, a passion to learn, and spirituality. Processes for acquiring organizational wisdom such as transformational leadership, organizational culture and knowledge transfer are also discussed.



Bierly, P., Kessler, E. and Christensen, E. (2000), "Organizational learning, knowledge and wisdom", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 13 No. 6, pp. 595-618.

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Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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