Re: Emergent Learning LO1962

chun wei choo (
Thu, 6 Jul 1995 17:45:11 -0400

Replying to LO1944 --

Liked the story attributed to John Seely Brown very much.

What caught my eye was your assertion:

>Tacit (implicit) knowledge cannot be converted into explicit
>knowledge. I make this as an absolute statement for its power in
>declaring it that way. I'm sure some will find exception but the
>exception do not invalidate the statement because it is a pragmatic
>one. When you can show that what I declared is *frequently* not the
>case, then you have something of interest - to me at least.

This seems to run counter to the book I have been reading by Nonaka and
Takeuchi, "The Knowledge Creating Company" (Oxford Univ Press, 1995). N &
T suggest that the fundamental reason for the success of Japanese
companies is their ability to convert tacit knowledge to explicit
knowledge and then back again. They describe the process as a dynamic
knowledge conversion cycle. In fact they insist that knowledge while it
remains personal or tacit, is of limited leverage to the organization.
Only after it is "externalized" into explicit knowledge and "combined"
with other explicit knowledge would the organization derive maximum
benefit. They imply that Japanese and other knowledge-creating companies
"frequently" and continually engage in the knowledge conversion cycle.
Nonaka has presented this argument (or parts thereof) a few times before
in places like the Harvard Business Review, Organization Science, Sloan
Mgm Review, etc.

Any comments?

Chun Wei Choo

Chun Wei Choo Faculty of Information Studies University of Toronto 140 St. George Street

Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1 Canada Tel: 416 978 5266 Fax: 416 971 1399