The Knowledge Spiral (Ikujiro Nonaka & Hirotaka Takeuk)

Nonaka and Takeuk's highly influential book, The Knowledge Creating Company (1995) is released. Their "spiral process" theory of knowledge creation is based upon a spiral movement between explicit and tacit knowledge.

The Knowledge Spiral

Nonaka and Takeuk theorized that the creation of knowledge is the result of a continuous cycle of four integrated processes: externalization, internalization, combination, and socialization. These four knowledge conversion mechanisms are mutually complementary and interdependent that change according to the demands of context and sequence:

  • Externalization - from Tacit to Explicit : Articulate "conceptual" tacit knowledge explicitly through the use of of such techniques as metaphors and models.
  • Combination - from Explicit to Explicit: Manipulating explicit "systemic" knowledge through such techniques as sorting and combining. For this to occur, the knowledge elements must "fit together." See LATCH.
  • Internalization - from Explicit to Tacit: This is "learning by doing" (operational knowledge) and sharing mental models and technical know-how.
  • Socialization - from Tacit to Tacit: Sharing experiences with others (sympathized knowledge). Example: It is quite resistant to codification.