A reflection on the knowledge flows of the Cynefin framework and their applicability within the context of new rolling stock introduction in the Netherlands Railways

As stated by Kurtz & Snowden, (2003) the Cynefin framework “originated in the practice of knowledge management as a means of distinguishing between formal and informal communities, and as a means of talking about the interaction of both with structured processes and uncertain conditions”. The framework provides a comprehensive overview of organizational knowledge exchange. Furthermore, it also identifies four main knowledge flows namely complex to knowable; knowable to chaotic; knowable to known; and chaotic to complex for more information see here. This post briefly elaborates these knowledge flows. In addition to this, the post also reflects on their applicability within the context of managing knowledge for new rolling stock introduction projects in the Netherlands Railways. Next section is distributed such that the first paragraph provides the elaboration and second the reflection on the applicability of each knowledge flow within the stated context.  

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Reflection on the key developments on the organizational knowledge creation theory

Theoretical Background
The organization knowledge creation theory was first developed by Nonaka, (1994) that explained the conversion of tacit and explicit knowledge into organizational knowledge and presented four modes of knowledge conversion that are as follows:

  1. Tacit to tacit
  2. Explicit to explicit
  3. Tacit to explicit
  4. Explicit to tacit
Nonaka, (1994) advocated that “the key to acquiring tacit knowledge is experience” and called the process of creating tacit knowledge through shared experience socialization. In addition to this, he stated that “socialization is connected with theories of organizational culture”. 
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A reflection on the paper about “Tacit knowledge management” by Ribeiro, R., (2013)

The concept of tacit knowledge which can be simply put as the knowledge that cannot easily be articulated into words was first presented by Polanyi when he stated, “we know more than we can tell” (Polanyi, 2001). If a metaphor of an iceberg is used for a knowledge possessed by an individual, then the tip of the iceberg can be represented as the individual explicit knowledge and the remaining invisible part can be represented as the individual’s tacit knowledge. In recent years organizations have started to realize the significance of this type of knowledge and consider its management of strategic importance. 

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