Originally published January 16, 2021

This is the 64th article in the Profiles in Knowledge series featuring thought leaders in knowledge management. 25 years ago I started my first full-time job as a knowledge manager, and 15 years ago I started blogging. It’s a good time to feature Ikujiro Nonaka, one of the fathers of KM, and four of his co-authors of important knowledge management books: Hirotaka Takeuchi, Kazuo Ichijo, Toshihiro Nishiguchi, and Noboru Konno.

1. Ikujiro Nonaka

Background

Ikujiro Nonaka, born May 10, 1935, is a Japanese organizational theorist and Professor Emeritus at the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy of the Hitotsubashi University. He is a pioneer in creating the field of knowledge management and studying the impact of knowledge creation on product development and innovation.

Nonaka received his BA in political science from Waseda University in 1958, and MBA and PhD in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley in 1968 and 1972, respectively. Professor Nonaka was appointed a Xerox Distinguished Faculty Scholar of the University of California in 1997, Professor Emeritus of Hitotsubashi University in 2006, and University Professor of Waseda University in 2013.

Nonaka was the Dean of the Graduate School of Knowledge Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, from 1997 to 2000. Previously he was Professor (1982–95) and Director (1995–98) at the Institute of Business Research, Hitotsubashi University. His earlier academic career included positions at Nanzan University and the National Defense Academy’s Faculty of Social Science.

Nonaka’s primary research interest is to establish and disseminate the theory of knowledge-based management of companies, communities, public administration, and the nations, in order to facilitate ongoing, sustainable knowledge creation and innovation. As part of this work, he has conducted comparative research on leaders and on knowledge-creating processes in companies and organizations, and of leaders, around the world. Accordingly, he is known globally as the ‘guru’ of Knowledge-based Management, having proposed concepts and theories on organizational knowledge creation processes and leadership since the 1980s. His academic works include the SECI Model for the organizational knowledge creating process, the concept of Ba and the dynamic model of organizational knowledge creation process, the concept and abilities of wise leadership and phronesis (practical wisdom), and historical imagination and idealistic pragmatism.

Profiles

Education

  • 1972 Ph.D. in Business Administration, University of California, Berkeley
  • 1968 M.B.A., University of California, Berkeley
  • 1958 B.S. (Political Science), Waseda University

Experience

  • 2012-present University Professor, Waseda University
  • 2007–2013 First Distinguished Drucker Scholar in Residence at the Drucker School and Institute, Claremont Graduate University
  • 2006-present Professor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University
  • 2006-present Visiting Professor, Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy
  • 2000–2006 Professor, Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy
  • 2001-present Xerox Distinguished Faculty Scholar, IMIO, University of California, Berkeley
  • 1997–2001 Xerox Distinguished Professor in Knowledge, Walter A. Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley
  • 1997–2000 Dean, the Graduate School of Knowledge Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
  • 1997–1998 Professor, Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University
  • 1995–1997 Director, Institute of Business Research, Hitotsubashi University
  • 1991–1995 Director of Research, National Institute of Science and Technology Policy, Japan
  • 1982–1997 Professor, Institute of Business Research, Hitotsubashi University
  • 1979–1982 Professor, Department of Social Sciences, National Defense Academy, Japan
  • 1977–1979 Professor, Department of Business Administration, Nanzan University, Japan
  • 1958–1970 Corporate Staff, Fuji Electric Co.

Articles

  • ResearchGate
  • ‪‪Google Scholar
  • Practical Strategy as Co-Creating Collective Narrative: A Perspective of Organizational Knowledge Creating Theory, Nonaka, I. & Hirose, A., Kindai Management Review, Vol. 3, 2015.
  • Dynamic fractal organizations for promoting knowledge-based transformation — A new paradigm for organizational theory, Nonaka, I., Kodama, M., Hirose, A., & Kohlbacher, F., European Management Journal (2014) 32, 137–146, 2014.
  • Wisdom, Management and Organization, Nonaka, I., Chia, R., Holt, R., & Peltokorpi, V., Management Learning, 45(4), 365–376, 2014.
  • The Wise Leader, Nonaka, I., Takeuchi, H., Harvard Business Review, 89, no. 5, 2011.
  • Tacit Knowledge and Knowledge Conversion: Controversy and Advancement in Organizational Knowledge Creation Theory, Nonaka I., von Krogh, G., Organization Science Vol. 20, №3, May–June 2009, 2009.
  • Strategic Management as Distributed Practical Wisdom (Phronesis), Ikujiro Nonaka and Ryoko Toyama, Industrial and Corporate Change (2007) 16 (3): 371–394, 2007.
  • Organizational Knowledge Creation Theory: Evolutionary Paths and Future Advances, I Nonaka, G Von Krogh, S Voelpel , Organization Studies August 2006 vol. 27 no. 8 1179–1208, 2006.
  • Visionary Knowledge Management: The Case of Eisai Transformation, with V. Peltokorpi, International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital, 3 (2), 2006.
  • The Theory of The Knowledge-Creating Firm: Subjectivity, Objectivity and Synthesis, Ikujiro Nonaka and Ryoko Toyama, Industrial and Corporate Change (June 2005) 14 (3): 419–436 , 2005.
  • Strategic knowledge creation: the case of Hamamatsu Photonics, Ikujiro Nonaka, Vesa Peltokorpi, Hisao Tomae, International Journal of Technology Management Volume 30, Issue 3–4 , 2005.
  • The knowledge-creating theory revisited: knowledge creation as a synthesizing process, Ikujiro Nonaka, Ryoko Toyama, Knowledge Management Research & Practice July 2003, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 2–10, 2003.
  • A firm as a knowledge-creating entity: a new perspective on the theory of the firm, I Nonaka, R Toyama and A Nagata, Industrial and Corporate Change Volume 9, Issue 1, 2000.
  • Knowledge Creation within Industrial Systems, with F. Corno and P. Reinmoeller, Journal of Management and Governance, 3, 379–394, 1999.
  • The `ART’ of knowledge: Systems to capitalize on market knowledge, Ikujiro Nonaka, Patrick Reinmoeller, Dai Senoo, European Management Journal, Volume 16, Issue 6, 1998.
  • The Concept of ‘Ba’: Building a Foundation for Knowledge Creation, with N. Konno, California Management Review, 40 (3) 1–15, 1998.
  • From Information Processing to Knowledge Creation: A Paradigm Shift in Business Management, with K. Umemoto and D. Senoo, Technology in Society, 18 (2) 203–218, 1996.
  • A Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation, Ikujiro Nonaka, Organization Science Volume 5, Issue 1 , 1994.
  • Organizational Knowledge Creation Theory: A First Comprehensive Test, with P. Byosiere, C.C. Borucki and N. Konno, International Business Review, 3 (4) 337–351, 1994.
  • Intellectual Productivity of Japanese Firm, Organizational Science, 26(4) 56–63, 1993, (in Japanese).
  • A Theory of Interorganizational Knowledge Creation: Case Study of Innovation Process of Japanese Semiconductor Industry, with S. Yonekura, 1992, (in Japanese).
  • Managing Knowledge Creation for the Global Firm: Case Study of Innovation Process of Nissan Corporation, Organizational Science, 25 (4) 2–15, 1992, (in Japanese).
  • The Knowledge-Creating Company, Harvard Business Review, 1991.
  • A Methodology of Organizational Knowledge Creation, with N. Konno and N. Kawamura, Organizational Science, 24 (1) 2–20, 1990, (in Japanese).
  • Redundant, Overlapping Organization: A Japanese Approach to Managing the Innovation Process, California Management Review, 22 (3) 27–38, 1990.
  • Toward Middle Up-down Management: Accelerating Information Creation, Sloan Management Review, 29 (3) 9–18, 1988.
  • A Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation
  • The Big Idea: The Wise Leader with Hirotaka Takeuchi
  • A Firm as a Knowledge-Creating Entity: A New Perspective on the Theory of the Firm with Ryoko Toyama and Akiya Nagata
  • The Concept of “Ba”: Building a Foundation for Knowledge Creation with Noboru Konno
  • SECI, Ba and Leadership: a Unified Model of Dynamic Knowledge Creation with Ryoko Toyama and Noboru Konno

Figure 2.3 The SECI process

Figure 2.5 Ba as shared context in motion

Figure 2.7 Four categories of knowledge asset

Articles by Others

Videos

YouTube

Books

  • Social Innovation, with A. Hirose and T. Hirata, Tokyo: Chikura Shobo, 2014, (in Japanese).
  • Phronesis and Quiddity in Management: A School of Knowledge Approach, Kimio Kase, César González Cantón, Ikujiro Nonaka , Palgrave Macmillan , 2014.
  • The Essence of Great Judgements, with S. Ogino, Tokyo: Diamond-sha, 2014, (in Japanese).
  • Managing Flow: The Dynamic Theory of the Knowledge-based Firm, with co-authors, Toyokeizaishimpo-sha, 2010, (in Japanese).
  • The Practical Wisdom of Innovation, with A.Katsumi, Tokyo: Nikkei BP, 2010, (in Japanese).
  • The Art of Innovation, with A. Katsumi, Tokyo: Nihon Keizai Shimbun Shuppan-sha, 2007, (in Japanese).
  • The Essence of Innovation, with A. Katsumi, Tokyo: Nikkei BP, 2004, (in Japanese).
  • Managing Industrial Knowledge: Creation, Transfer and Utilization, I Nonaka, DJ Teece, SAGE Publications Ltd, 2001.
  • Management for Knowledge Creation, Tokyo: Nihon Keizai Shimbun-sha, 1990, (in Japanese).

Amazon

Book Chapters

  • Knowledge-based View of Radical Innovation: Toyota Prius Case, with V. Peltokorpi, in J. T. Hage and M. Meenus (eds.), Innovation, Science, and Institutional Change, p. 88–104, 2009.
  • Organizational Knowledge Creation Theory: Evolutionary Paths and Future Advances, I Nonaka, G Von Krogh, S Voelpel , Organization Studies August 2006 vol. 27 no. 8 1179–1208, 2006.
  • Managing Organizational Knowledge: Theoretical and Methodological Foundations, in K.G. Smith and M.A. Hitt (eds.) Great Minds in Management, New York: Oxford University, 2005.
  • An Integrated Information Technology System for Knowledge Creation, with P. Reinmoeller and R. Toyama in M. Dierkes, A. Antal, J. Child, and I. Nonaka (eds.), Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • A Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation: Understanding the Dynamic Process of Creating Knowledge, with R. Toyama and P. Byosiere in M. Dierkes, A. Antal, J. Child, and I. Nonaka (eds.), Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Emergence of ‘Ba’: A Conceptual Framework for Continuous and Self-transcending Process of Knowledge Creation, with N. Konno and R. Toyama in I. Nonaka and T. Nishiguchi (eds.), Knowledge Emergence, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • A Theory of the Firm’s Knowledge-Creation Dynamics, with H. Takeuchi in A.D. Chandler, P. Hagstrom and O. Solvell (eds.), The Dynamic Firm, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Three Tales of Knowledge-Creating Companies, with K. Umemoto and D. Senoo in G. von Krogh, J. Roos, and D. Klein (eds.), Knowing in Firms: Understanding, Managing, and Measuring Knowledge, London: Sage, 1998.
  • Managing Innovation as an Organizational Knowledge Creation Process, in G. Pogorel (ed.), Technology Strategies in the Nineties: A Tricontinental Handbook, Milan: Franco Angeli, 1995.
  • Models of Knowledge Management in the West and Japan, with G. Hedland in P. Lorange, B. Chakravarthy, J. Roos and A. Van de Van (eds.), Implementing Strategic Processes: Change, Learning and Co-operation, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1993.
  • Managing the Firm as an Information Creation Process, in J.R. Meindl, R.L. Cardy and S. M. Puffer (eds.), Advances in Information Processing in Organizations, London: JAI Press, 1991.
  • Knowledge Horizons, The Present and the Promise of Knowledge Management edited by Charles Despres and Daniele Chauvel — Chapter 4: Knowledge, Knowledge Creation and Knowledge-Intensive Management
  • Harvard Business Review on Knowledge Management — Chapter 2: The Knowledge-Creating Company
  • California Management Review, Volume 40, Number 3, Spring, 1998 — Chapter 2: The Concept of ‘Ba’: Building a Foundation for Knowledge Creation with Noboru Konno

2. Hirotaka Takeuchi

Background

Hirotaka Takeuchi is a Professor of Management Practice in the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School. He co-authored The New New Product Development Game which influenced the development of the Scrum framework. His research interests are focused on the knowledge creation process within organizations, the competitiveness of Japanese firms in global industries, and the link between strategy and innovation.

Profiles

Education

  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, December 1977
  • MBA, University of California, Berkeley, December 1971
  • BA, International Christian University, Tokyo Japan, June 1969

Experience

  • Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School, 2010 to present
  • Dean and Professor, Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, 1998 to 2010
  • Visiting Professor, Harvard Business School, 1995 to 1996
  • Professor, Hitotsubashi University School of Commerce, 1987 to 1998
  • Associate Professor, Hitotsubashi University School of Commerce, 1983 to 1987
  • Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School, 1977 to 1983
  • Lecturer, Harvard Business School, 1976 to 1977

Articles

Op-ed Columns in Business Magazines, Newspapers, and Online Media

  • “On-lookers Cannot Create Knowledge,” Nikkei NetPlus: Hitotsubashi Knowledge Forum, September 1, 2008 [in Japanese]
  • “Employees at the Center of Producing Tacit Knowledge,” Nikkei NetPlus: Hitotusbashi Knowledge Forum, December 8, 2007 [in Japanese]

Other Publications

  • “What is Innovation Management? Toyota vs. Google,” Board Room Review, Japan Association of Corporate Directors, January 2007 [in Japanese; speech-based]
  • “Creating the Future: The Road to Knowledge Companies,” Nikkei Sangyo Newspaper, May 28, 1999 [in Japanese; interview-based]
  • “Knowledge Creation Management During Times of Change,” Business Policy Forum, №43, 1997

Selected Media Quotes

  • Nihon Keizai Newspaper, “Internet’s Impact on Knowledge Management,” February 25, 2007 [in Japanese]
  • Financial Times, “Slowly Learning to Appreciate the Value of Knowledge,” March 3, 2004

Articles by Others

Videos

YouTube

Books

  • With Tsutomu Shibata (ed.), Japan Moving Toward a More Advanced Knowledge Economy: Advanced Knowledge-Creating Companies (Washington D.C.: World Bank Institute, 2006)
  • Best Practices Kakumei: Seikou Kigyou ni Manabe [Best Practices Revolution: Learning from Successful Companies] (Tokyo: Diamond, 1994) [in Japanese]
  • With Kiyonori Sakakibara, Tadao Kagono, Akihiro Okumura, and Ikujiro Nonaka, Kigyou no Jiko-Kakushin: Chaos to Souzou no Management [Corporate Self-Innovation: Managing Chaos and Creativity] (Tokyo: Chuo Kouron, 1986) [in Japanese]

Amazon

Book Chapters

In Hitotsubashi on Knowledge Management

  • “The New Dynamism of the Knowledge-Creating Company”
  • “Inter-organizational Knowledge Creation at Shimano”
  • “Creating the Dynamics of Hard-to-Imitate Innovation”
  • With Ikujiro Nonaka, “Knowledge Creation and Dialectics”
  • With Ikujiro Nonaka, “Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation”
  • “Knowledge Creation within a Dialectic Organization”

In Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Peter Hagstrom, and Orjan Solvell (ed.), The Dynamic Firm (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998)

  • With Ikujiro Nonaka, “A Theory of the Firm’s Knowledge-Creation Dynamics”

3. Kazuo Ichijo

Background

Kazuo Ichijo’s research interests focus on innovation through the process of organizational knowledge creation. His areas of expertise are:

  • Development of knowledge-based competence of a firm, especially at global firms
  • Management of innovation
  • Leadership and corporate transformation

His book, Enabling Knowledge Creation: How to Unlock the Mystery of Tacit Knowledge and Release the Power of Innovation, (co-authored with Georg von Krogh and Ikujiro Nonaka) won the Best Business Book of the Year award 2000 from the Association of American Publisher’s Professional and Scientific Publishing division. He has also received a wide range of academic recognition. His paper presented at the annual conference of the Strategic Management Society held in Barcelona, October 1997, was selected as one of the best papers. Professor Ichijo’s book Management by Values (in Japanese) received “1998 best book award” from the Japan Management Association.

Profiles

Education

  • BA (social sciences), Hitotsubashi University, 1982
  • MS (social sciences), Hitotsubashi University, 1988
  • PhD (organizational behavior), University of Michigan School of Business, 1995

Experience

  • Dean and Professor at Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy (ICS), Hitotsubashi University
  • Adjunct Professor, IMD Business School, Lausanne, Switzerland

Articles

  • Publications
  • ResearchGate
  • Tapping tacit local knowledge in emerging markets — the Toyota way with Florian Kohlbacher
  • The Toyota way of global knowledge creation the ‘learn local, act global’ strategy with Florian Kohlbacher
  • An edgy business: Sharp — maintaining its knowledge-based advantage

Articles by Others

Videos

Books

  • Management by Values (in Japanese)

Amazon

Book Chapters

4. Toshihiro Nishiguchi

Background

Toshihiro Nishiguchi, Professor Emeritus of management at Hitotsubashi University’s Institute of Innovation Research, won the Tadao Kiyonari’s JASVE (The Japan Academic Society for Ventures and Entrepreneurs) Award. This award is offered to an outstanding book and a journal article that achieve excellence in small-business and entrepreneurship research. He also won the Shoko Research Institute’s (SRI) prestigious Annual Award for Outstanding Studies on Small Business. This award is offered to a selection of outstanding books and journal articles that achieve excellence in small-business research.

Profiles

Education

  • 1977 B.A. (Political Science), the School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University
  • 1981 M.Sc. (Social and Economic Aspects of Science and Technology in Industry), Imperial College, the University of London
  • 1986–1989 Research Fellow, the International Motor Vehicle Program, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 1990 D.Phil. (Sociology), the University of Oxford
  • 1990 Post-Doctoral Fellow, INSEAD (the European Institute of Business Administration)

Experience

  • 1991 Assistant Professor of Management, the Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania
  • 1994 Associate Professor, the Institute of Business Research, the Faculty of Commerce and Management, Hitotsubashi University
  • 1997–2016 Professor, the Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University
  • 1999–2006 Director, the Japan Academic Society for Ventures and Entrepreneurs
  • 2000–2015 Director, the Japan Academy of International Business Studies
  • 2007–2012 Director, the Defense Procurement Structure Improvement Foundation
  • 2008-present Senior Research Fellow, the Policy Research Institute, the Ministry of Finance
  • 2016 Professor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University
  • 2016-present Adjunct Professor, Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University

Articles

Awards

Video

Books

Amazon

5. Noboru Konno

Background

Noboru Konno is Professor of Tama Graduate School of Management (Tokyo) and specially-appointed Professor of Graduate School of System Design and Management (SDM) of Keio University. He describes himself as a knowledge ecologist and an “amphibian,” as he belongs to both academic and practice worlds, and design and management fields. His background is architecture. Previously he worked as a planner and marketing director at Hakuhodo, Inc. Parallel to his business career, he taught design economics at the Graduate School of Engineering of Chiba University and knowledge science at Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST) as Adjunct Professor.

He has been Professor at Tama Graduate School of Management (MBA) since 2007. His recent studies and projects include the workplace for knowledge creation (concept of “ba”), Future Center studies, and Purpose Engineering. He has also been a juror of the Good Design Award (The Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization, JIDPO) for 2004–2011 and other design awards. He is the President of the Japan Innovation Network (JIN) and Future Center Alliance Japan (FCAJ), groups of large Japanese enterprises and ministries interested in innovation management and its environment. As a knowledge ecologist, he has been involved in numerous consulting projects including knowledge strategy projects, scenario projects, change management for design organizations and professional service firms, workplace design for knowledge industries and development of research labs.

Profiles

Education

  • B.A. of Architecture, Waseda University
  • Ph.D. (Management Information Science), Tama Graduate School

Experience

Articles

Videos

Books

Amazon

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/