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Enabling Knowledge Creation

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Enabling Knowledge Creation

How to Unlock the Mystery of Tacit Knowledge and Release the Power of Innovation

Oxford UP,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Are you inadvertently stifling the creation of vision and knowledge in your company? If so, you are stifling profit as well.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Dust off those liberal arts degrees before opening this challenging treatise on knowledge management, written by a trio of academics who call themselves "constructionists," quote Sartre and speak passionately of "post-modernism." Their work explains how to gain initiative and constructive input from workers by modifying traditional command structures - a grounded approach that is much more realistic than the revolutionary conversions called for by other experts. Managers who balk at the thought of granting autonomy or increased access to their employees may well be converted away from their hierarchical dogma here. getAbstract particularly recommends the lively knowledge-creation case histories and the wonderful section explaining how companies can create valid, imaginative futures. (What if IBM had imagined a world in which software was more important than mainframes?)


Explicit and Tacit Knowledge

Knowledge management is a modern mantra espoused by pundits, researchers and consultants as a way for businesses to gain a competitive edge over their counterparts. The idea: If you build a business that embraces both tacit and explicit knowledge, your company can outlive its first good idea and transform itself in response to changing markets.

"Some knowledge can be put on paper, formulated in sentences or captured in drawings... Yet other kinds of knowledge are tied to the senses, skills in bodily movement, individual perception, physical experiences, rules of thumb, and intuition. Such tacit knowledge is often very difficult to describe to others."

Visionary leaders nurture tacit knowledge, enable its sharing and use, and thus move it out of individual minds into the company’s social environment. This transforms individual creativity into innovations for everyone. In short, these leaders engage in unlocking the mysteries of tacit knowledge - to their advantage.

Fallout from the management principles, systems and techniques of the 1980s and 1990s has pushed many firms in a new direction. Companies such as 3M, Daimler-Chrysler...

About the Authors

Georg Von Krogh is Professor of Management and member of the board, the Institute of Management, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. His consultancy clients include Hoffman La-Roche, PricewaterhouseCoopers, USB, and Unilever. Kazuo Ichijo is Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Hitotsubashi University. Ikujiro Nonaka is Dean of the School of Knowledge Science at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and is a chaired professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

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