The Strategic Management of Intellectual Capital and Organizational Knowledge

Oxford University Press
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Increasingly, the challenge of management is to create and supply knowledge in order to sustain organizational performance. However, few books on management strategy have been written using this concept as a foundation. This unique volume adopts a knowledge-based approach that will complement and perhaps supplant other perspectives. Editors Nick Bontis and Chun Wei Choo look at the literature through the lens of strategic management and from the vantage point of organizational science. The thirty readings have been carefully selected and commissioned to provide the best literature available--from articles newly written for this book and from existing publications.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Apr 4, 2002
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Pages
768
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ISBN
9780195343915
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Knowledge Capital
Business & Economics / Management Science
Business & Economics / Organizational Behavior
Business & Economics / Strategic Planning
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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How have Japanese companies become world leaders in the automotive and electronics industries, among others? What is the secret of their success? Two leading Japanese business experts, Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi, are the first to tie the success of Japanese companies to their ability to create new knowledge and use it to produce successful products and technologies. In The Knowledge-Creating Company, Nonaka and Takeuchi provide an inside look at how Japanese companies go about creating this new knowledge organizationally. The authors point out that there are two types of knowledge: explicit knowledge, contained in manuals and procedures, and tacit knowledge, learned only by experience, and communicated only indirectly, through metaphor and analogy. U.S. managers focus on explicit knowledge. The Japanese, on the other hand, focus on tacit knowledge. And this, the authors argue, is the key to their success--the Japanese have learned how to transform tacit into explicit knowledge. To explain how this is done--and illuminate Japanese business practices as they do so--the authors range from Greek philosophy to Zen Buddhism, from classical economists to modern management gurus, illustrating the theory of organizational knowledge creation with case studies drawn from such firms as Honda, Canon, Matsushita, NEC, Nissan, 3M, GE, and even the U.S. Marines. For instance, using Matsushita's development of the Home Bakery (the world's first fully automated bread-baking machine for home use), they show how tacit knowledge can be converted to explicit knowledge: when the designers couldn't perfect the dough kneading mechanism, a software programmer apprenticed herself with the master baker at Osaka International Hotel, gained a tacit understanding of kneading, and then conveyed this information to the engineers. In addition, the authors show that, to create knowledge, the best management style is neither top-down nor bottom-up, but rather what they call "middle-up-down," in which the middle managers form a bridge between the ideals of top management and the chaotic realities of the frontline. As we make the turn into the 21st century, a new society is emerging. Peter Drucker calls it the "knowledge society," one that is drastically different from the "industrial society," and one in which acquiring and applying knowledge will become key competitive factors. Nonaka and Takeuchi go a step further, arguing that creating knowledge will become the key to sustaining a competitive advantage in the future. Because the competitive environment and customer preferences changes constantly, knowledge perishes quickly. With The Knowledge-Creating Company, managers have at their fingertips years of insight from Japanese firms that reveal how to create knowledge continuously, and how to exploit it to make successful new products, services, and systems.
This book brings together three great motifs of the network society: the seeking and using of information by individuals and groups; the creation and application of knowledge in organizations; and the fundamental transformation of these activities as they are enacted on the Internet and the World Wide Web. Of the three, the study of how individuals and groups seek information probably has the longest history, beginning with the early "information needs and uses" studies soon after the Second World War. The study of organizations as knowledge-based social systems is much more recent, and really gained momentum only within the last decade or so. The study of the World Wide Web as information and communication media is younger still, but has generated tremendous excitement, partly because it has the potential to reconfigure the ways in which people seek information and use knowledge, and partly because it offers new methods of analyzing and measuring how in fact such information and knowledge work gets done. As research endeavors, these streams overlap and share conceptual constructs, perspectives, and methods of analysis. Although these overlaps and shared concerns are sometimes apparent in the published research, there have been few attempts to connect these ideas explicitly and identify cross-disciplinary themes. This book is an attempt to fill this void. The three authors of this book possess contrasting backgrounds and thus adopt complementary vantage points to observe information seeking and knowledge work.
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