Facilitating new knowledge creation and obtaining KM maturity

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Journal of Knolwedge Management

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe a framework designed to assess the capacity of a knowledge management (KM) system to facilitate new knowledge creation. Design/methodology/approach – A longitudinal case study methodology, in a single company, Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR), was used to test the framework. Findings – New knowledge creation is best supported through mature KM systems that include all four modes of knowledge creation: combination, externalization, socialization, and internalization. KM systems and environments as a whole reach maturity by progressing through stages, which is presented as a KM maturity model. Research limitations/implications – By combining Nonaka's knowledge creation theory with Wittrock's generative learning activities, the paper illuminates both the why and how of new knowledge creation, in a way that can be applied to KM technological initiatives. One of the limitations of this study is the generalizability of the findings, which may be limited by the single case study method used. Practical implications – The framework provides a rubric against which both old and new KM initiatives can be assessed to determine whether they are capable of generating new knowledge. The maturity model provides a template against which organizations can map their progress towards a mature KM environment. Originality/value – Much of the literature on KM systems has focused on capturing knowledge and disseminating it. Few studies have provided practical, theoretically based advice on how to create new knowledge and what aspects of information systems can facilitate that creation. The framework and maturity model can serve as guides in that process.


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