SECI: a Model of Dynamic Organizational Knowledge Creation

To understand how knowledge is spread throughout an organization, we need to understand the SECI modell by Prof. Ikujiro Nonaka (Hitotsubashi University). When Prof. Ikujiro Nonaka introduced the SECI model (Nonaka & Takeuchi 1996) it became the cornerstone of knowledge creation and knowledge transfer theories. He proposed four ways to combine and convert knowledge types, showing how knowledge is shared and created in organizations. The model is based on two types of knowledge – explicit knowledge and tacil knowledge. Explicit knowledge is visible knowledge, it is easily explained, quantified and documented; tacil knowledge is unseen and grows with habits and hands-on work, but is not easy to share or document it.
The Seci modell
The model also consists of 4 different process situations: Socialization, Externalization, Combination and Internalization.

  1. Socialization
    This process focuses on tacit to tacit knowledge transfer. It’s done when knowledge is passed on through practice, guidance, imitation and observation. This is when someone who is learning a new skill can interact with a more experienced person, ask questions and observe. This occurs in traditional environments where a son learns the technique of wood craft from his father by working with him (rather than reading books or manuals on wood working).
     
  2. Externalization
    This process focuses on tacit to explicit knowledge transfer. Externalization is about making an internal understanding more quantifiable like writing documents and manuals, so that the knowledge can be spread more easily through the organization. The processes of externalization are good at distributing knowledge for repetitive work or processes. An expert describes different parts so that readers can understand “if this happens do the following in order to succeed”.
     
  3. Combination
    The process of combination is about transforming explicit knowledge to another person’s explicit knowledge. A typical case is when a financial department collects all financial information from departments and consolidates this information to provide an overall profile of the company.

     
     
  4. Internalization
    The process of internalization is about transforming explicit knowledge to tacit knowledge. Through reading books, manuals or searching on the web, explicit knowledge can be learned.

There is a spiral of knowledge involved in their model, where the explicit and tacit knowledge interact in a continuous process. This process leads to creation of new knowledge. The central thought of the model is that knowledge held by individuals is shared with other individuals so it interconnects to a new knowledge. The spiral of knowledge or the amount of knowledge grows all the time as more rounds are done in the model.

The basis of all change is that the need for change is known and communicated. If it’s not on the agenda it will probably not be valued. If spreading of knowledge is important for your organization, talk about it with the people involved.



  1. [...] SECI: a Model of Dynamic Organizational Knowledge Creation … This process focuses on tacit to tacit knowledge transfer. It's done when … There is a spiral of knowledge involved in their model, where the explicit and tacit knowledge interact in a continuous process. Source: http://www.applitude.se [...]

  2. [...] interacción entre conocimientos tácitos y explícitos? “In the act of creating, people, argue. They have heated dialogue. They get upset! Without real [...]

 

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