Nonaka's theory of knowledge creation to convert tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge : a study of AIDS Saskatoon
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AIDS Saskatoon (AS), a non-profit organization, has limited funding. Most of the funding and resources for the organization go into service provision and education/prevention activities, leaving little time for strategic planning. Essentially, organizational knowledge exists at an individual level, which causes concern in terms of sustainability, continuity, evaluation, raising funding, writing research proposals, and staff training. AS’ operations are largely based on tacit knowledge, or knowledge that resides within individuals, and little of it is explicit knowledge, or knowledge that can be examined by and shared with others. This problem yields the following research question: How does AIDS Saskatoon convert their tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge? This research study examines AS’ tacit knowledge and represents it in an explicit format with the combination of thematic analysis and an organizational model. A Participatory Action Research (PAR) method is employed to gather and analyze qualitative data. The thematic analysis reveals the mental models and beliefs that are taken for granted at AS and therefore no longer articulated among the participants but simply a part of their daily practice. A metaphorical model of AS, using Nonaka’s theory of knowledge creation as a theoretical basis, is presented to convey some of the tacit knowledge that cannot be captured in words. AS has had some challenges in their explicit knowledge documentation. This research takes one piece of their tacit knowledge and represents it explicitly through themes and image: themes articulated tacit knowledge at AS in an explicit format, and the organizational model framed the knowledge by using metaphor. An important implication of this research for the larger body of knowledge management literature is that the overarching concepts in Nonaka’s theory of knowledge creation were applicable for a community-based organization, where most Knowledge Management literature has focused on for-profit contexts.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorIsaac, Grant E.; Forbes, Dorothy
CommitteeDowne, Pamela J.; Janzen, Bonnie
Copyright DateMarch 2006