Critical Evaluation of Nonaka’s SECI Model

  • Marion Kahrens
  • Dieter H. Früauff


Organisational knowledge creation is different from individual knowledge creation. Since 1990, the theoretical and empirical study of knowledge creation in organisations revealed that knowledge and the capability to create it is one of the most important sources of a company’s sustainable competitive advantage. The theory of organisational knowledge creation, first presented by Nonaka (Harward Business Review, Nov.–Dec., 96–104, 1991), is a paradigm for managing the dynamic aspects of organisational knowledge creation processes. Its central theme is the SECI model as a knowledge creation process as played out through a continuous dialogue between tacit and explicit knowledge. As it has developed since the early 1990s, it has broadened in scope and is now linked to a huge range of topics, such as leadership styles, organisational forms, cultural aspects and organisational learning. This chapter gives a comprehensive introduction of Nonaka’s SECI model as the core of his theory which remained relatively unchanged, while Nonaka’s knowledge creation theory has evolved. Furthermore, the knowledge creation theory is explained while the SECI model is reviewed from several perspectives. As a business example of its implementation, the organisational application of the model at a German airport is described. This critical evaluation suggests future requirements regarding practical implications of the theory.


Organisational knowledge creation SECI model Tacit and explicit knowledge Airport industry Critical evaluation 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marion Kahrens
    • 1
  • Dieter H. Früauff
    • 2
  1. 1.European College of Business and ManagementLondonUK
  2. 2.Fraport AGFrankfurtGermany

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