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The concept of "ba": building a foundation for knowledge creation

by Ikujiro Nonaka, Noboru Konno
California Management Review ()


A paper introduces the Japanese concept of "Ba" to organizational theory. Ba (equivalent to "place" in English) is a shared space for emerging relationships. It can be a physical, virtual, or mental space. Knowledge, in contrast to information, cannot be separated from the context - it is embedded in ba. To support the process of knowledge creation, a foundation in ba is required. The paper develops and explains 4 specific platforms and their relationships to knowledge creation. Each of the knowledge conversion modes is promoted by a specific ba. A self-transcending process of knowledge creation can be supported by providing ba on different organizational levels. This article presents case studies of 3 companies that employ ba on the team, division, and corporate level to enhance knowledge creation.

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