SECI model (Nonaka & Takeuchi)

Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi propose a model of the knowledge creating process to understand the dynamic nature of knowledge creation, and to manage such a process effectively: the SECI model.
There is a spiral of knowledge involved in their model, where the explicit and tacit knowledge interact with each other in a continuous process. This process leads to creation of new knowledge. The central thought of the model is that knowledge held by individuals is shared with other individuals so it interconnects to a new knowledge. The spiral of knowledge or the amount of knowledge so to say, grows all the time when more rounds are done in the model.
SECI model

Sharing tacit knowledge through face-to-face communication or shared experience. Informal social intercourse and teaching by practical examples. An example is an apprenticeship.

Trying to convert tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge by developing concepts and models. In this phase tacit knowledge is converted to understandable and interpretable form, so it can be also used by others. Externalized and theoretical knowledge is a base for creating new knowledge.

Compiling externalized explicit knowledge to broader entities and concept systems. When knowledge is in explicit form it can be combined with the knowledge that has been filed earlier. In this phase knowledge is also analyzed and organized.

Internalization means understanding explicit knowledge. It happens when explicit knowledge transforms to tacit and becomes a part of individual’s basic information. Cycle continues now in the spiral of knowledge back to socialization when individual shares his tacit knowledge silently. This is how amount of knowledge grows and the previous conceptions might change.

The creation of knowledge is a continuous process of dynamic interactions between tacit and explicit knowledge. The four modes of knowledge conversion interact in the spiral of knowledge creation. The spiral becomes larger in scale as it moves up through organizational levels, and can trigger new spirals of knowledge creation.

Benefits of the SECI model
– Appreciates the dynamic nature of knowledge and knowledge creation.
– Provides a framework for management of the relevant processes.

Disadvantages of the SECI model.
– It is based on a study of Japanese organizations, which heavily rely on tacit knowledge: employees are often with a company for life.
– The linearity of the concept: can the spiral jump steps? Can it go counter-clockwise?


Tieto ja viestintä organisaatiossa. Jyväskylän Yliopisto.

Milovanović, S. 2006. Knowledge sharing between users and informations specialists: Role of trust.


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