Leeds Beckett University
OrganisationalWisdom-GAUKROGER.pdf (3.25 MB)

Organisational Wisdom – What is the Contribution of the Organisation Development (OD) Practitioner?

Download (3.25 MB)
posted on 2022-12-07, 11:31 authored by Jane Gaukroger

The focus of this research is an exploration of a gap between the theory and practice of organisational wisdom and the potential contribution of the organisation development (OD) practitioner to bridging this gap. Wisdom is an ancient concept. However, only recently has organisational wisdom been adopted as an explicit concept for organisation theorising - prompted in response to factors including the global financial crisis, organisational scandals and increasing interest in collective and individual wellbeing. 

The literature review demonstrates the richness and complexity of conceptions of wisdom through the ages and across disciplines. Whilst Aristotle’s notion of phronesis (practical wisdom) is an important influence for recent organisational writers, their focus has been more on the theory rather than the practice of organisational wisdom. Amongst major themes explored in the writings are organisational purpose and ethics, wise, relational leadership and movement from knowledge management to wisdom inquiry – often coalescing around how organisations best serve the common good. However, there has been little research into what practitioners in organisations think of organisational wisdom or how the concept and theorising is being applied. More specifically the role of the OD practitioner as a potential agent for the development of organisational wisdom is neglected. 

A practitioner orientation and an interpretivist research philosophy have informed and shaped an action research methodology for this study, using developmental action inquiry with a group of highly experienced OD practitioners. Exploring their perspectives on the practice and development of organisational wisdom has produced an integrated framework for characterising organisational wisdom with six characteristics relevant across multiple characters – individual (including leader), group, organisation and society. As a framework in use it offers a possible bridge between theory and


Qualification name

  • PhD


Gold, Jeffrey ; Robinson, Simon

Awarding Institution

Leeds Beckett University

Completion Date


Qualification level

  • Doctoral


  • eng


Leeds Beckett University

Usage metrics

    LBU Theses and Dissertations


    No categories selected



    Ref. manager