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The concept of "Ba": Building a foundation for knowledge creation

Nonaka I, Konno N ...see all

California Management Review, vol. 40, issue 3 (1998) pp. 40-54

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Abstract

This article 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. This article develops and explains four 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 three companies that employ ba on the team, division, and corporate level to enhance knowledge creation.

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Authors

  • Ikujiro Nonaka

  • Noboru Konno

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