1. How do we create and share knowledge and ideas within our organization?
Source: https://pixabay.com/pt/illustrations/ponto-de-interroga%c3%a7%c3%a3o-pilha-quest%c3%b5es-2492009/ (photo by Arek Socha)
Knowledge creation is a process of interactions and stages of development or conversion of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. The SECI model is the basic model that explains how knowledge creation occurs through different knowledge conversion modes, how the different types of knowledge interact and how people are engaged in the exchange of knowledge and ideas.
The SECI model translate the knowledge creation process through the 4 knowledge conversion modes of Socialisation (S), Externalization (E), Combination (C), and Internalization (I).
Socialization is the mode during which there’s an exchange of experiences and/or experimentation. It requires engagement of the parts involved so that the information shared can have an impact in the other person mind and thoughts. It requires a common experience. Socialization allows the creation of an interaction space. This first mode generates tacit knowledge. The knowledge created is not, yet, possible to be written down clearly to be transferred to others. It is clear, therefore, that bringing people together in the right context and with a defined purpose, fostering ideas, know-how and expertise’s exchange is the first step of knowledge creation. Knowledge is not created by one single, isolated person. Instead, is the result of meaningful interactions. Can you, now, start to understand the power of creating the opportunities for the exchange of ideas and knowledge inside your own organization?
The second mode of the process is the Externalization, when the tacit knowledge created during socialization – the phase where the discussion space allowed the collective reflection and the creation of something new – starts to be transformed into explicit knowledge. This occurs through the development of concepts, metaphors, models, etc. At this point it is not yet possible to express something clearly.
The Combination mode follows the process with the combination of different expertise’s, systematizing concepts. Think about the development of a new product, when your organization has achieved a concept of aims to develop and gather a multidisciplinary group of employees to design the product concept in its different dimension – design, materials, engineering, production, marketing, etc.
The final phase of the knowledge process is Internalization. This phase is related with the incorporation of the knowledge developed across the organization. This new knowledge, properly disseminated across the organization, will, then, create new tacit knowledge as people will learn not just from any type of documentation released but through the “learning by doing” and the know-how acquired.
As you can see, all the knowledge creation process is highly based in the exchange of knowledge and ideas. This can become a very fluid process inside the organization as long as a sharing and knowledge-based culture is fostered.
Figure 1: SECI model of knowledge (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995)
But we can go deeper in the knowledge creation process! This process is not as “flat” as it may seem. Inside the organization the knowledge creation process does not occur at one single level, e.g., within one specific group of people. All the process flows between individuals, groups, organization, and social groups. The levels of interactions, exchange of ideas and knowledge can be quite broad. If knowledge and ideas are “born” in people or start in individuals, it also means that are expanded within groups, within the organization but also beyond the organizational levels into social networks. We deliver and receive knowledge from the outside of our organizational boundaries. Learn more on this topic on submodule 5.2.
For sure you have noticed how the socialization phase plays a crucial role in the process of conversion and creation of knowledge and ideas exchange. The role of the group is key for the quality of the knowledge created and ideas generated. As group evolves in its interactions and work, the more consolidated can be the group spirit that will lead to its behaviour as one single body. As better the group function as whole, the better is the quality of its results that will lead to action.
Some of the features of the group (tacit) knowledge include:
- It’s the result of the socialization process
- Drives its action as a group
- It’s highly related to the different profiles of the group members and generates synergies
- Is a result of the group culture
- It is based on a common good
- Helps to deal with uncertainty
At the end, we can say the organizational knowledge creation is about making the existing knowledge available as well as its consolidation across the organization. It’s generated by the interactions between people and its knowledge and ideas share, and the better the group(s) within the organization work higher is the quality of the outputs produced.
Source: https://pixabay.com/pt/illustrations/grupo-equipe-gabarito-1825503/ (Image by Gerd Altmann)