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Exploring organisational knowledge creation : what is the practical value of Nonaka’s Hypertext model and how can it be applied?

Constandse, J.M. (2013) Exploring organisational knowledge creation : what is the practical value of Nonaka’s Hypertext model and how can it be applied?

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Abstract:Knowledge creation models frequently suffer from a narrow scope, or a too broad approach. The objective of this paper is to take one of these models, namely the Hypertext organisation (Nonaka, 1994) and bring it closer to practice by increasing its fit with a practical situation. The ultimate aim of this study is to provide a conclusion about the value and applicability of this model for knowledge creation in knowledge intensive companies. An extensive review of Nonaka’s contribution to knowledge management literature and adjacent publications has led to a comprehensive reconstruction of the Hypertext model and its potential shortcomings. Subsequently, a case study of a knowledge intensive company was conducted using semi-structured group interviews among 16 respondents who were selected using a combination of quota sampling and self-selection. The respondents were asked to discuss the current method of knowledge creation at the company, the individual elements of the reconstructed Hypertext model in relation to knowledge creation at the company and their perceptions of value and applicability of the model for knowledge creation at the company. The interview outcomes have led to eight suggested changes which are aimed to improve the practical relevance of the model. The main conclusions in this paper are that the Hypertext model is an abstract and idealised representation of organisational knowledge creation which relies on poorly supported and partially unproven constructs and relations, but nevertheless holds considerable merit for managing organisational knowledge creation. Several constructs and relations appear to be influenced by Japanese culture, while others are expected to more accurately portray reality when configured to follow a different order. Despite this criticism, the reception of the model among the respondents in the case study was largely positive as many elements and relations were familiar or perceived to be valuable. Several respondents have expressed their intention to immediately apply some of the lessons learned from the interviews in practice. The overall judgment of the respondents was that the applicability and value of the model is relatively high. However, the universality of the model and the assessment of theoretical shortcomings potentially negatively affect the applicability of the model. By implementing the proposed changes, this paper presents an evolved Hypertext model which holds greater practical value than its precursor.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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