Conceptualizing knowledge creation : a critique of Nonaka's theory

Gourlay, Stephen (2006) Conceptualizing knowledge creation : a critique of Nonaka's theory. Journal of Management Studies, 43(7), pp. 1415-1436. ISSN (print) 0022-2380

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Nonaka’s proposition that knowledge is created through the interaction of tacit and explicit knowledge involving four modes of knowledge conversion is flawed. Two of the modes appear plausible but none are supported by evidence that cannot be explained more simply. The conceptual framework omits inherently tacit knowledge, and uses a radically subjective definition of knowledge: knowledge is in effect created by managers. A new framework is proposed suggesting that different kinds of knowledge are created by different kinds of behaviour. Following Dewey, non-reflectional behaviour is distinguished from reflective behaviour, the former being associated with tacit knowledge, and the latter with explicit knowledge. Some of the implications for academic and managerial practice are considered.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: 'The definitive version is available at'
Uncontrolled Keywords: knowledge creation; knowledge management; knowledge types; tacit knowledge
Research Area: Business and management studies
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Business and Law (until 2017)
Faculty of Business and Law (until 2017) > Kingston Business School (Leadership, HRM and Organisation) (until July 2013)
Depositing User: Anna Englund
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2008
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2017 08:40

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