The Culture of Employee Learning- Which Way for South Africa?

George Mavunga, Michael Cross


Employee learning which is known by terms such as human capital development and lifelong learning is an aspect of post-school learning which people engage in for purposes of enhancing their work-related competencies and possibly achieve upward professional mobility. There are different views on how best employee learning can be achieved at organizational and national levels, a debate which is currently alive in South Africa. The genesis of this debate is in the continued manifestation of aspects of the country’s history such as socio-economic inequalities as well as how employee learning can be used to narrow them. This article looks at the concept of the culture of employee learning in terms of the theories on the basis of which its character is determined. Two such theories are Human Capital Theory and Critical Realism. Through application of these theories to the South African context of employee learning, the article concludes by offering suggestions on the direction which the country could take to create a sustainable culture of employee learning which might assist with addressing, amongst other problems, the challenge of socio-economic inequality which continues to haunt the country twenty one years after 1994.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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