KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT. IKUJIRO NONAKA’S VISION. FROM CHAOS TO THE CONCEPT OF KNOWLEDGE-CREATING COMPANY. Reviewed by Momizat on .   Nonaka "... the more chaos and fluctuations have an organization within the established structure, the greater the likelihood of intense activity to create in   Nonaka "... the more chaos and fluctuations have an organization within the established structure, the greater the likelihood of intense activity to create in Rating: 0




Nonaka “… the more chaos and fluctuations have an organization within the established structure, the greater the likelihood of intense activity to create information … paradoxical principle that a new order, the information that forms its base is caused by chaos is a view that has been ignored in previous management theories “(Nonaka, I., 1988:60-61).

Clearly inspired by chaos theory, Nonaka understands that situations of fluctuation or imbalance favoring the generation of new information and, from it, a new order. Therefore, in these situations develop self-organizing processes, or spontaneous creation of a new order based on the information produced at the edge of chaos.

Considering Nonaka assumed by the idea about the origin of the phenomena of self-organization associated with the new information generated under conditions of fluctuation or chaos can be understood that the author advocates the creation of instability to encourage processes of self-organization and as a result thereof, to promote the reconfiguration of established organizational order, thereby driving the evolution of the organization. Consequently, the development of such processes is the key to building an organization that evolves continuously, it is a learning organization. “The organizational learning involves a process through which an individual’s knowledge can be shared, evaluated, and integrated with the others in the organization “(Nonaka, I. and Johansson, JK, 1985) adds the article.


Therefore, as is clear from the above definition, organizational learning is identified with the process to convert individual knowledge into shared knowledge by all members of the organization, that is, organizational knowledge. In addition, the Learning Organization is conceived by Nonaka as:

“… An organization that is constantly evolving learning organization. A learning organization transforms the flow of information in a stock of knowledge and at the same time, spreading it to other departments and encourage systematic self-organization of information ‘(Nonaka, I., 1988)

For Nonaka, the Learning Organization is one capable of transforming the information generated in different parts of the organization into organizational knowledge. Also, it is able to evolve continuously. The ability of continuous evolution of the organization depends, for the author mentioned, the ability to generate new information.

Moreover, another key to the Learning Organization to Nonaka, is the transformation of information generated within the organization, in a stock of organizational knowledge. The generation of organizational knowledge is, therefore, a crucial element of a Learning Organization. Nonaka focuses, therefore, the study of this issue – Nonaka (1991), Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), Nonaka and Ichijo (1997), Nonaka, Reinmoeller and Senoo, (1998) – analyzing in depth the process of creating knowledge in organizations. In this regard, Nonaka distinguishes two fundamental pillars associated with the creation of organizational knowledge, which are:


First, the distinction that the author establishes between tacit and explicit.

His distinction of four different modes of knowledge conversion within an organization: 1) “Socialization” (“socialization”) is the conversion of tacit knowledge in tacit, through the exchange of experiences between individuals, 2) “Externalization” (“externalization”), or process by which tacit knowledge becomes explicit, taking the form of metaphors, analogies, concepts or models explicit. Just as in the process of socialization experience is the primary route of transmission of tacit knowledge, language and dialogue are essential vehicles for articulating tacit knowledge and make explicit, 3) Combination “(” combination “), consisting of transformation of explicit knowledge into explicit. It involves the combination of different types of explicit knowledge. This is achieved through different channels and formal systems of knowledge transfer in the organizations (documents, communication networks, computer support databases, etc.). 4) “Internalization” (“internalization”), or process that allows the conversion of tacit knowledge explicit. This occurs when explicit knowledge within the organization is assimilated by the individuals of the same. According to Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), these processes can occur aimed at different levels of the organization within a particular group of the organization, organization-wide and even inter-organizational level, involving people from various organizations . Thus, the knowledge generated at each level enriches the proceeds at a lower level, expanding the knowledge base of the organization. This is what the aforementioned authors call the “spiral of organizational knowledge creation.”

Nonaka recommended to use metaphors and organizational duplication to focus ideas, stimulate dialogue, and make explicit the tacit ideas make people understand instinctively.


The companies that have understood this new form of knowledge have been distinguished by its ability to respond quickly to customers, create new markets, rapidly develop new products and to master new technologies.

According to Nonaka the cornerstone of the Japanese approach lies in recognizing that the creation of new knowledge is not simply a matter of “process” objective information. It is rather to learn to take advantage of tacit and often highly subjective insights, intuitions and hunches of employees, and then put those ideas available to the entire company to be tested and used. The key to the whole process is personal commitment, in the sense of identification with the company and its mission, which keep employees. To mobilize the commitment and realize that tacit knowledge to achieve in real products and technologies, they need managers who can deal with symbols and images as easily as the dry figures used to evaluate market share, productivity or profitability of sales.

It is therefore a holistic knowledge of the company, in which this is not a machine but a living organism, which can have a collective sense of identity and ultimate purpose, focusing on the ideas and the ideals. The essence of innovation is to recreate the world according to a certain vision or ideal. “Creating new knowledge literally recreate the company and every one of the people who work there through a continuous process of personal and corporate self-renewal.”

The concept of vision of the company must be open, susceptible to different interpretations and even contradictory interpretations. At first glance this may seem a contradiction that seems more logical and a clear, consistent and unambiguous. But if the vision is too little ambiguous, it looks more like an instruction or an order. And the orders do not encourage this high level of personal commitment that depends on effective knowledge creation, according to Nonaka.

The creator of value, the teams play a key role because they provide a shared context where people can interact with each other and establish ongoing dialogue that kind of reflection that enables effective. Through dialogue and debate team members create new points of view. Pooling all the information and examine it from all angles. And finally, they get up their different perspectives of a new individual collective perspective.

This dialogue can (indeed must) involve considerable disagreement and conflict. And precisely such conflicts are those that induce employees to call into question the currently accepted assumptions and seek the reasonableness of their experiences in a new way. Managers should encourage employees to review all that they see as a foregone conclusion.

Middle managers must synthesize the tacit knowledge of both employee base and senior managers. Then they should make it explicit and incorporate it into new products and new technologies. Thus become the real knowledge engineers in knowledge-creating company.

Jesús María Ruiz de Arriaga

Economist Lawyer. Managing Partner

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