ICFAI Journal of Knowledge Management, 6/2007
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Donald Nordberg
Knowledge Creation: Revisiting the `ba’ Humbug People and `Latent’ Knowledge in Organizational Learning

Abstract: Knowledge management theory has struggled with the concept of `knowledge creation’. Since the seminal article of Nonaka in 1991, an industry has grown up seeking to capture the knowledge in the heads and hearts of individuals so as to leverage them for organizational learning and growth. But the process of Socialization, Externalization, Combination and Internalization (SECI) outlined by Nonaka and his colleagues has essentially dealt with knowledge transfer rather than knowledge creation. This paper attempts to fill the gap in the process – from Nonaka’s own addition of the need for “ba” to Snowden’s suggestion of that we consider “Cynefin” as a space for knowledge creation. Drawing upon a much older theoretical frame – work the Johari Window developed in group dynamics, this paper suggests an alternative concept – latent knowledge – and introduces a different model for the process of knowledge creation.

© 2007 Donald Nordberg. All Rights Reserved.

Arvanitis S, Kubli U, Sydow N, Woerter M
Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT) Activities between Universities and Firms in Switzerland – The Main Facts: An Empirical Analysis Based on Firm-Level Data

Abstract: This study is part of a large project aiming at the investigation of a) extent and b) economic relevance of Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT) between science institutions (universities, universities of applied science and other public research institutions) and private corporations. Under knowledge and technology transfer, it is broadly understood that any activity targeted at transferring knowledge and technology may help a company or a research institution – depending on the direction of the transfer – to further promote its activities. In this paper we report on the results of a large postal survey of Swiss enterprises based on a questionnaire on the exchange of knowledge and technology with Swiss universities and other research institutions. The survey was addressed to about 6000 firms from all sectors of the economy (with exception of hotels/catering, retail trade, transportation and personal services) and from different size classes. We received answers from 2582 firms, i.e., 43% of the firms in the underlying sample. In this paper we undertake a characterization of KTT activities from a firm’s point of view: which are the main characteristics of firms conducting KTT (e.g., size, industry, Research and Development (R&D) activities, R&D budget, research areas etc.); which forms does KTT take (e.g., joint research projects, joint teaching courses, allocation of thesis or doctoral projects in collaboration with firms etc.); what is the relative importance of such forms; which are the most important transfer channels (publications, patents, licenses, spin-offs) and intermediating organizations (technology transfer offices, Kinetics Technology International(KTI), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (SNF), etc.,); which are the most relevant transfer partners among the universities and other research institutions; which are the most important motives for KTT activities (e.g., financial motives, access to academic knowledge, institutional motives etc.); and which are the most important impediments to KTT activities (lack of information, lack of conditions necessary for know-how transfer, costs and risks, etc.).

© 2007 The Icfai University Press. All Rights Reserved.

Patrick D’Aquino
Empowerment and Participation: How Could the Wide Range of Social Effects of Participatory Approaches be Better Elicited and Compared?

Abstract: Research and support approaches to development that involve the stakeholders are the subject of criticism, due to their overly superficial approach to social dynamics, and the difficulties they encounter when organizing sustainable change beyond a purely local scale. Their evaluators as well as the majority of practitioners reckon that the quality of their social outcomes mainly depends on the social and political context as well as on the human qualities of the moderators and local leaders. As this biographical analysis proves, it then becomes difficult to justify the investment in an approach whose very practitioners recognize that the greater part of the conditions for its success lie in the social factors over which they have little control. That is why it is important to develop a common framework for participatory approaches, taking into account their different understanding of stakeholders, objectives, forms and limits. This will lead to the need for a more rigorous and pragmatic way, to propose development policies as well as research action proponents, some clear and practical positioning of participation, and to face the critical questions.

© 2007 The Icfai University Press. All Rights Reserved.

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