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On managerial knowledge

Chia, R. and Holt, R. (2008) On managerial knowledge. Management Learning, 39 (2). pp. 141-158. ISSN 1350-5076

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Abstract

This article investigates what it means for a manager to be knowledgeable. It identifies, on the one hand, a rational tendency to sublimate knowledge as something more exact, definitive and logical than mere learning, and, on the other hand, a practical tendency to subjugate knowledge to social conventions. Articulating a third way between these views, the article critically develops the work of those management scholars for whom the objectivity of knowledge claims is perpetually upset by the recurring influence of environmental context, novel use and localized, community agreement. The influence of what Wittgenstein refers to as background conditions is identified and this background is woven into personal, empirical experiences of events as the bedrock upon which knowledgeable conditions rest. It is not profound, or inaccessibly 'deep', but right there before us; it is ordinary belief. It is argued that very often it is these everyday settings that are most revealing when it comes to investigating and understanding what goes by the name managerial knowledge.