Ever since Weber, a great deal of the conceptual history of organisational development may be read as a struggle between knowledge creation and the use of this knowledge for relevant policy making to resolve organisational challenges. On one hand, learning organisation creates opportunities for organisational learning to take place among individuals who work in the organisation and this makes the organisation a repository of knowledge. As Ehrenberg and Smith famously put it, ‘the knowledge and skills a worker has – which comes from education and training, including the training that experience brings – generate productive capital.’ On the other hand, there is a long holistic tradition that focuses on the complexity of the realities that the knowledge so created brings to management, in terms of making decisions for relevant policies on the basis of the knowledge created to aid organisational developmental systems. This paper takes a view that the learning organisation can therefore glean on behalf of organisations, spectacular successes in knowledge generation that are crucial for organisational growth and development in the 21st century. The paper argues that, the premises for policy making based on this repository of knowledge is quintessential conceptual frameworks for addressing problems to achieve organisational growth. Yet, organisations are still actively looking for ways out of the organisational learning-decision making tensions, often mentioning the concept ‘organisational interest’ as a way to deal with the conundrum. The paper examines the trajectories of knowledge creation in two private universities in the domain of work alienation, link these to the tensions that associate the realities of policy making to resolve the work alienation challenges of academic staff, and how the process relates to conceptions of organisational growth.
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