Knowledge Creation: Revisiting the 'Ba' Humbug: People and 'Latent' Knowledge in Organizational Learning

16 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2006

See all articles by Donald Nordberg

Donald Nordberg

Milestones Trust; Bournemouth University - Business School

Date Written: March 15, 2006


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 SECI process of socialization, externalization, combination and internalization outlined by Nonaka and his colleagues has dealt essentially with knowledge transfer rather than creation. This paper looks at 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 framework, 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.

Keywords: knowledge management, explicit knowledge, tacit knowledge, latent knowledge, organizational learning, Johari Window, group learning, group dynamics

JEL Classification: L19, L20, M1, M10, M12, M54, O33, O34

Suggested Citation

Nordberg, Donald, Knowledge Creation: Revisiting the 'Ba' Humbug: People and 'Latent' Knowledge in Organizational Learning (March 15, 2006). Available at SSRN: or

Donald Nordberg (Contact Author)

Milestones Trust ( email )

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High Street, Staple Hill
Bristol, BH16 5EL
United Kingdom

Bournemouth University - Business School ( email )

Talbot Campus
Poole, BH12 5BB
United Kingdom


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