Continuous Knowledge Development in Organizations

Miomir Arandelovic, DBA

Abstract: Fast technological development and worldwide operation integrations had imposed a strong pressure on modern companies to stay competitive, continually producing positive business results and reporting profit to the shareholders.  To achieve these goals, firms had to constantly improve operations.  However, many times, organizations were not able to cope with the internal level of changes necessary to stay on the top, due to the inability to develop or successfully implement necessary knowledge.  Thus, the management frequently opted for strategies, seemingly opposite to the internal knowledge development, such as following the general industry trends or renting expertise through outsourcing or purchase of the external services.  A number of scholarly works explored different methods to achieve the sustainable growth of company efficiency; however, there had been a lack of clear strategies and decision criteria based on a holistic view of the problem.  This study attempted to contribute to a field of continuous knowledge development through a rigorous theoretic framework that integrates multiple prior perspectives.  The proposed model considers the knowledge development, continuous in both time and internal and external business space, as a key enhancement transformation of the organizational identity.  Following the mixed method research approach, the field evidence from a set of subordinate studies had been analyzed and found to confirm the theoretic premises.  Based on the positive relationship found between knowledge creation and the increased organizational capabilities this study proposed a set of recommendations for the sustainable growth path of the firms, which also augments social stability and prosperity.

Keywords: Knowledge management, Knowledge development, Organizational learning, Organizational Capability, Organizational Performance, Process improvement, Tacit knowledge, Explicit knowledge

Copyright © 2017 by Imios Miomir Arandelovic All Rights Reserved



Fast technological development, worldwide operation integrations and volatile changes of the global market had imposed a strong pressure on modern companies to stay competitive, continually producing positive business results and reporting profit to the shareholders.  To achieve these goals, firms had to constantly improve their expertise and operations.  This problem had been approached from several angles, such as:

  • learning from the best field practices
  • ongoing internal Research & Development and the related organizational changes
  • cooperating and merging expertise with other companies
  • outsourcing various operation segments

Maintaining pace with knowledge development in field is not easy and, according to Swink, Narasimhan, and Kim (2005), even 80% of internal process improvement initiatives fail to produce expected business results. These failures are associated primarily with a general lack of understanding of the dynamic nature of knowledge, lack of expertise by the management and lack of shareholder interest.

Due to difficulties to achieve continual internal development, management of the firms frequently opt for strategies, seemingly opposite to the internal knowledge development, such as reliance on adoption of the industry trends, renting expertise through outsourcing or purchasing of the external services.  However, while copying or outsourcing of the business competencies can be economically desirable for a while, in the long term, this strategy waters out organizational capabilities, according to Singh and Zack (2006).

In spite of intensive studies of organizational knowledge development, most of the approaches in field were focused on the specific business areas and there had been a lack of holistic strategies of dynamic adaptation to the external changes. According to Nonaka (1994), the organizational knowledge is constantly changing, and cannot be reduced to a fixed set of data and practices, usually associated with the resource management. The relevant model of the continuous knowledge development thus cannot be identified within stateless processing of organizational inputs to outputs and needs to provide a functional answer to some essential questions about the nature of the knowledge and its development in time.

An integrative, multifaceted model of continuous knowledge development in organizations, which is developed in this study, is intended to support better understanding of the knowledge dynamics and the processes that managers and shareholders of the companies can utilize in order to ensure sustained organizational changes in response to the fast-changing environment.


Research Questions and Objective

The current study attempts to answer the following fundamental questions regarding continuous knowledge development in organizations:

  • What is continuous knowledge development?
  • Does continuous knowledge development affect organizational capabilities and financial results of the firm?
  • How to delineate and decide between internal and external knowledge use?
  • Propose a consistent framework of the continuous knowledge development in firm.
  • Define the means to measure an overall organizational knowledge growth.

The current study aspires to contribute to a field of continuous knowledge development through a rigorous theoretic framework that integrates multiple prior perspectives. The proposed model considers the knowledge development, continuous in both time and internal and external business space, as a key enhancement transformation of the organizational identity.  Following the mixed method research approach, the field evidence from a set of subordinate studies had been analyzed and found to confirm the theoretic premises.  Based on the positive relationship found between knowledge creation and the increased organizational capabilities this study proposed a set of recommendations for the sustainable growth path of the firms, which also augments social stability and prosperity.


Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Continuous knowledge development in organizations has been a hot business topic since fifties and Lewin's (1958) Theory of the Organizational Change.  The topic has been researched by a number of experts and from various perspectives. Most of the scholars agree about the strategic place of knowledge development in corporate strategy, but there was no significant convergence regarding terminology, goals or methodology for their achievement. Views had been polarized around multiple dimensions of the subject, such as utilization of internal or external knowledge centers, structured vs. freeform approach, implementation methodology, quantification of the results and others.

Map of the seminal references that discusses knowledge development in organizations

Figure 1.  Map of the seminal references that discusses knowledge development in organizations

Various fundamental studies have been focused on closely related topics, such as organizational change by Lewin (1958), competitive strengths by Porter (1979), organizational learning by Senge (1990), knowledge management by Leonard-Barton (1992), and continuous knowledge creation by Nonaka (1994). Some of the these seminal findings have often been considered together as Knowledge Based Theories (KBT) and utilized in the Value-Rarity-Imitability-Organization (VRIO) framework that determines the competitive strengths of the firm.  Both KBT and VRIO consider that valuable and unique knowledge is a most important resource of an organization.

KBT were also subject to criticism by the theorists of different perspectives. For instance TCE (Transaction Cost Economy) view suggests that business should utilize the products and services which can be obtained at most optimal conditions, e.g. at lower cost, on the market, regardless if they originate internally or externally (Chorafas, 2003). Leonard-Barton (1992) points to another potential internal conflict of KBT approach, emphasizing the specialized capabilities of the firm can also transform to its rigidities, making it difficult to adapt to the changing market conditions. In addition to these conceptual criticism, KBT had been also subject to scrutiny from the implementation perspective, as Swink, Narasimhan, and Kim (2005) pointed out that 80% of internal process improvement initiatives fail.

Disagreements and implementation issues regarding continuous knowledge development in organizations had been largely due to difficulties in understanding the underlying concepts (Swink, Narasimhan, & Kim, 2005). Most of the theories in modern business operate with epistemology (rather than ontology of the knowledge) concepts of knowledge in the organizations, but none of them has been widely accepted.

One of the typical and generally accepted description of knowledge development, by Davenport & Prusak (2000) states that knowledge originates and is applied within the minds of individuals, but it is stored not only in personal memory, but also in documents, information repositories, organizational routines, processes, practices, and norms of the organization. This definition, as most of the others in the field, describes some characteristics of the organizational knowledge, but doesn't address the question what knowledge is.

The core definition of knowledge had been a subject of ongoing debate for centuries. The most commonly used definition today has been that knowledge is Justified True Belief (JBT). However, as observed even by Plato himself, this definition is not complete, as it does not consider self-reflective nature of the cognition. Thus, the more complete definition of the knowledge and its development should address the relation between the knowledge subject and object, as well as the obtaining and preserving of the knowledge.

Most of the earlier definitions of knowledge designate individuals as the only subjects that can acquire the knowledge; however, newly discovered facts in modern science, such as DNA-based capabilities of the species, and holographic information storage require revisions of such view. According to Popper (1974), knowledge cannot be reduced to either passive set of facts or a subjective belief, and:

            • Any dynamic, self-organizing system can have knowledge, provided that

            • Knowledge can be accessed internally in a deterministic manner

            • Knowledge can be exchanged in some way with an external world.

            This enhancement of the system view towards knowledge has been also supported by discoveries in Physics (Bohm, 1980) and Medicine (Pribram, 1999), which revealed the holographic nature of the information. Pribram (1999) had, for instance, provided evidence that knowledge is stored as "holonomic impressions of different frequencies" in the brain.

Modern and more comprehensive definition of the knowledge is thus also applicable to business firms and not only to individuals working in them. Beckhard (1969) thus defines organizational learning as an effort that is planned, organization-wide, and managed from the top, to increase organization effectiveness and health through planned interventions in the organization's processes.

Porter’s Five Forces Framework (1979) develops the premise that organizational knowledge is a critical factor that explains how firms achieve competitive advantage. Peter Senge, he author of Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, developed the notion of a learning organization, as dynamical system in a state of continuous adaptation and improvement, comprised from a large number of interactions within the organization. Senge's work had been very influential, however, the application of Senge's concepts had been mostly relying on the capability of the managers, rather than principle-driven processes, thus the transformation of firms to learning organizations had been only partially successful.

Nonaka (1994) provided one of the seminal theories of the Continuous Knowledge Development in Organizations, which integrates many important dimensions of the prior business research as well as the modern science. Nonaka’s theory of Dynamic Knowledge Creation, presented in this slide, takes into account internal and external, carrier and process and implicit and explicit aspects of the knowledge.  According to Nonaka (1994), organizations are exposed to continuous change and thus the organizational knowledge is always in the state of becoming, generated from the continuous dialog between its tacit (or implicit) and explicit aspects.

Organizational Knowledge Creation Mechanisms, adapted from Nonaka, 1994.

Figure 2. Organizational Knowledge Creation Mechanisms, adapted from Nonaka, 1994.

Nonaka (1994) explains that tacit knowledge has a “personal quality” and is comprised from the understanding and skills that are deeply rooted within the specific context or the prior experiences of a subject, such as an individual or the organization.  On the other side, explicit or codified knowledge relates to shareable aspects of the knowledge, suitable for transmission between multiple entities through some standardized means, such as written language, Unified Modeling Language (UML) diagrams or Architectural Design Patterns. Nonaka, defines continuous knowledge development as a process where tacit and explicit form of knowledge constantly convert one to another through the cycles that comprise Spiral of Knowledge development of an organization. 

Knowledge development in organizations had continued to be focus of a number of researchers in the last decades.  The analysis identified various facets of the problem such as needs for internal (KBT – Knowledge Based Theories), and external knowledge expertise (Singh & Zack, 2006), inter-organizational collaboration (Kovacs & Paganelli, 2003), as well as the presence of both structured (King & Malhotra, 2000) and unstructured aspect (Jackson & Williamson, 2011) knowledge development. While this researched clarified many domain specific issues, it didn’t yet bring any overarching model or a consensus regarding the terminology and definitions of continuous knowledge development.


Literature Gap and Study Contribution

The purpose of this work has been to contribute to the subject, by positioning different perspectives into an integrative, multifaceted conceptual framework, which would contribute to both holistic understanding and practical decision making in the field. The proposed framework for continuous knowledge development in organizations has been based on the analysis and integration of prior theoretic concepts, such as knowledge creation framework defined by Senge (1990) and Nonaka (1994), holographic information by Bohm (1980) and Pribram (1999), combinatory texture of any functional space (Penrose, 1994) and informational symmetry transformation (Tiller, 2010) . The conceptual findings would be supported by field research data from the studies of Steiber and Alange (2013), Lee (2015), Anand et al. (2010) and Nir et al. (2012).

As the business and social assumptions could be made from many varying perspectives, matching specialization and previous experience of the researchers, it has been relatively difficult to form a common language and premises between various perspectives.  The language of mathematics, specifically of group theory, which had been widely used in natural sciences, had been utilized in this study in an aspiration to offer a unifying description for various aspects of knowledge development. However, due to informal, social and business nature of the domain for which the current framework is intended, the extensive use the dense mathematic construct might not be always practical. Thus, another goal of the current framework had been to provide the intuitive, visual representation. 

The framework also takes into account multiple layers of knowledge organizations and the exchange of global and individual contributions to the overall field knowledge. According to the current model, the organizations, which belong to a specific domain, develop knowledge in the process of enhancing the own identity in the field.


Research Methodology

The conceptual approach in this study had been based on "Theory triangulation" that attempts convergence of the findings of more than one theoretical scheme into an integrative model and mixed method research, which is primarily qualitative but utilizes quantitative analysis of public data to ensure field evidence for the theoretic findings. The responses to the research questions had been based on the evaluation of the following hypotheses:

            Ha1: knowledge socialization positively influences operational performance of company.

            H01: knowledge socialization does not influence operational performance of company.

            Ha2: knowledge externalization positively influences operational performance of company.

            H02: Investment into knowledge externalization does not influence the operational

            performance of the company.

            Ha3: Investment into a combination of knowledge positively influences the operational

            performance of the company.

            H03: Investment into a combination of knowledge does not influence the operational

            performance of the company.

            Ha4: Investment into knowledge internalization positively influences the operational

            performance of the company.

            H04: Investment into knowledge internalization does not influence the operational

            performance of the company.


Conceptual Framework

The current study attempts to offer mathematically consistent and intuitively clear and mathematically rigorous model of the continuous knowledge development, and to test its applicability through field data analysis. Organizational knowledge  is hereby defined as smooth two-dimensional information manifold that has internal and external, as well as tacit and explicit aspect, and continuously evolves (expanding across its field plane) through multiple transformation phases. The three-dimensional diagram below is based on concepts the Nonaka (1994) knowledge (phases) at the horizontal plane and Wu et al (2010) organizational capabilities projected to the vertical line.  Organizations are here presented as systems comprised of knowledge plane and vertical capability axis, which enhance their “root” capabilities (below the knowledge plane) through knowledge development that yields increased organizational performance (above the knowledge plane) towards the selected strategic direction.

Continuous Knowledge Development in Organization Driving Performance Increase

Figure 3. Continuous Knowledge Development in Organization Driving Performance Increase

Each Knowledge creation mechanism of Nonaka (1994) is here defined as identity enhancement transformation of an organization. Thus, the four Nonaka’s knowledge generation mechanism comprise the complete 360 degree transformation cycle to the higher level of the organizational capability and performance.  The organizational capabilities, presented as the red cycle of processes within the organization, are constantly in motion and support growth of the business performance.  

The essential principle of this visual representation was inspired by the metaphor of network of blooming golden flowers that exchange the values, similarly as flowers exchange the pollen, found in an ancient alchemy scripture “The Secret of the Golden Flower” (Lü, Wilhelm & Jung, 2010).  According to Lü, Wilhelm & Jung (2010), the externally visible beauty of the flower is driven by its invisible elements, as expressed in the verse: “The further the work Secret of the Golden Flower advances, the more can the Golden Flower bloom”.

. Along the similar line of thought, Wu et al. (2010) identify the internal organizational capabilities as a “secret ingredient” of the organizational success, which had made Japanese car companies more successful than others. The tacit capabilities of these companies were difficult to replicate on the West, due to the focus on tangible and explicit resources. An importance of the constant development of the internal competencies is also emphasized by Singh and Zack (2006), who state that indiscriminate replacement of internal know-how by outsourced processes leads to the hollowing of a corporation due to the loss of firm’s inimitable capabilities.

The theoretic support for the proposed framework of the continuous knowledge development can be also found in a model of gauge symmetry states, proposed by Tiller (2011), where stateless systems, conforming to U(1) symmetry, are differentiated from those that are self-coherent in time, conforming to SU(2) symmetry. Tiller’s points out that more complex, SU(2) systems preserve certain internal symmetry invariance (such as core values of an organization) in time, even though they are still subject to a change.  The transformations of these self-coherent systems are directed towards system enhancement, as opposed to stateless systems which are driven only by current input and output.  According to Nonaka (1994), the self-coherent systems enable more optimal dynamic response, continuous knowledge growth and competitive advantages than stateless systems. 

As the knowledge cannot be substantiated into any set of tangible phenomena, frozen in time, the dynamic nature of the knowledge dynamics can be observed only through the activities characteristic for different phases of knowledge maturation. A decomposition of the real world information into phase-based elements, proposed in the current study has been inspired by Penrose (1994, p. 942) who suggest that any functional space can be defined in terms of combinatorial quantities with the notion of the environment as a dependent or derived (rather than assumed) construct.  From that perspective, all processes in the knowledge development domain can be explained as a matrix of mutually interacting elements in the varying states of maturation. The four cells representing Nonaka’s knowledge generation phases, for example, comprise a base matrix, but the same concept can be applied to cover arbitrary sets of field data.

Continuous knowledge development in the organizations, according to the proposed model, is defined as the enhancement transformation of the organizational identity symmetry. The full transformative cycle is comprised of multiple knowledge generation transformations and is presented in the horizontal plane, while the organizational identity and capabilities are associated to the vertical axis in Figure 3.  Using the language of algebra, if we map the set of core capabilities of an organization, postulated and developed through firm's strategy, to a vector X, the set of identity enhancement transformations can be defined as any matrix A, for which the linear transformation preserves the organizational direction, as in the Equation (1) below.

A · X = X’,  where A is extendible matrix:  [endif]-->  and X is a vector:   [endif]-->    (1)

According to this definition, the transformational matrix A can have a arbitrary number of dimensions 1..n, as long as the mutual relationship of the core organizational values, defined as X, stays invariant in future X’ manifestations of the organization to its functional space.  Each of the dimensions driving the knowledge development can be seen as a specific challenge presented to the organization by the technology and market changes and could be described by a matrix row comprised of  1..m variable factors.  Self-reflecting transformations A • X will enhance the identity of the organization, by defining new combinations of organizational core values or competencies against the factors of the specific matrix dimension.  The collaboration dimension of knowledge development, for instance, could include various modes of the information exchange, while the performance measurement factors could be similarly comprised  from a set of the selected performance indicators (KPI).


Data Collection

Data collection in the quantitative part of this integrative study was based on the selection of the subordinate studies, appropriate to illustrate specific knowledge generation practices. Due to vast field of the areas applicable to knowledge development, no independent study had been performed. Instead, the current research focused on the selection and coordination of information provided in the previously published studies.

In the first step of the analysis, the subordinate studies for this research were located through literature search, including bibliographic databases such as ABI/INFORM, ProQuest Central, Research Library: Science and Technology and Academic OneFile, as well as Google Search.  The databases were searched using the following multiple  keywords: "organizational knowledge", "core values", "organizational learning", "knowledge development" and others. All keywords were searched within titles, author's keywords, and abstracts of the published papers. 

The candidate documents retrieved through automated search were subsequently reviewed for the contribution to the topic and existence of the field evidence to either support or reject the proposed knowledge development theory. Thus, for the study to be selected for meta-analysis, it had to meet the following criteria:

  • research had to be empirical and present measurable results
  • research specified a correlation between knowledge-generating behavior and the independent variables in this study
  • research provided adequate descriptions of the knowledge gathering environment

The initial search and systematic review of the literature produced 40 documents. Subsequently studies with compatible coding were selected and finally, the code mapping was performed, based on the level of granularity needed to capture the semantics of the topics. Since different studies often adopt different variables or define the same variable differently, the studies most compatible to the knowledge generation elements of Nonaka (1994) were subsequently selected for the final analysis process, narrowing the initial list of 40 to 4 studies.

The studies of Steiber and Alange (2013), Lee (2015), Anand et al. (2010) and  Nir et al. (2012), were selected based on their  contributions to the complementary dimensions of the research problem, respectively as follows:

  • Organizational culture (socialization) study of Steiber and Alange (2013)
  • Work coordination (externalization) study of Lee (2015)
  • Learning from quality control (internalization) of Anand et al. (2010)
  • Multi-organizational collaboration (combination) in study of Nir et al. (2012)


Data Analysis

The current study was based on the sample of four different knowledge generation areas based on the extended Nonaka’s knowledge generation framework. The four related subordinated studies were selected to represent these types of knowledge creation practices, utilizing two aggregation levels of meta-analysis, however, more than two aggregation levels could be, iteratively, implemented in each area. An iterative approach enables multiplying the number of sources in each segment by four, to reflect the related phases of knowledge creation in each segment. Due to four-fold structure of the current model (mapped to four set of gradient values of knowledge cycle maturity), an application of more than four constructs in any cycle would make present repetitive and superfluous information.

Knowledge generation elements detected in heterogeneous organizational activities.

Figure 4. Knowledge generation elements detected in heterogeneous organizational activities.

While the two-level aggregation was selected for the current study, in the more extensive research, the number of covered knowledge domains and the population of sources could have been made larger enough to assure coverage of more knowledge domains perceptions and to ensure statistically more significant results. Any number of knowledge generation activities could be included, as visually presented in multiple functions on the left side of Figure 3.

The units of analysis in all four subordinate studies were based on individual participants, solicited for the input and opinion in the respective area of inquiry, even though the units of measurement of the knowledge development practices varied per study. The units of analysis in the integrative study were specific knowledge development practices and phases, which can be mathematically presented as organizational identity enhancement transformations, in the scheme of spiral knowledge development.  The multiple levels of the organizational capability can be viewed as the established symmetries of the organizational identity enhancement.  These symmetries can be intuitively understood as a level of establishment of various functional paths in the organizational space of capabilities and can be analytically represented as various dimensions of the extensible matrix X in the aforementioned Equation (1). Regardless of the complexity of the knowledge generation curve in the organizations, any subject can be decomposed into elementary periodic curves with four inflection points, as displayed in Figure 4. Any iteration of decomposing the problem area into four knowledge phases would work similarly as, for instance, one would use calculus to solve equations numerically with bisection method.


Data Coding

The quantitative level of development of particular knowledge dimensions, due to their intangible and dynamic character, cannot be meaningfully presented in any units attributed to static business resources (such as monetary value).  However, the maturity level of different knowledge dimensions can be measured in relation to the prior level of established knowledge, assigned to the earlier circles of spiral knowledge development.

Based on the normalized construct loadings from the subordinate studies, the average results for the research hypothesis were calculated.  Average loading value for each of the hypothesis was calculated in reference to the effects of the construct towards Organizational Capability Enhancements, as perceived by the interviewed participants (Wu et al., 2010).  Descriptive statistics related to subordinate studies, per data collection domain is presented in the table below.

The analysis at the summary level, which included aggregation of all constructs back to four factors of knowledge development, mapped to the class category associated to four knowledge maturity phases. Thus the summary results were calculated for the four aggregate constructs: T00: Knowledge generation through internal transformations, tacit to tacit interaction; T01: Knowledge generation through externalization, tacit to explicit aspect interaction; T10: Knowledge generation through internalization, explicit to tacit interaction; T11: Knowledge generation through external, explicit to explicit aspect interaction.

Results and Suggestions for Future Research

The constructs related to all hypotheses in the current work were calculated to positive average, confirming the prediction of the proposed framework, that organizational capabilities of the firms were positively associated with the selected knowledge practices, within all four subordinate studies.  All four hypotheses were also affirmed in subordinate studies, with an exception of the inter-organization collaboration aspect within the organizational culture study of Steiber and Alange (2013). This result confirms the wider applicability of the positive role of continuous knowledge development in driving increased organizational capabilities and the related business success. 

Mapping Constructs of Subordinate Studies to Integrative Study.

Figure 5. Mapping Constructs of Subordinate Studies to Integrative Study.

It should be noted that subjective perception of the research participants, rather than a fixed economical parameters are used to measure the operational capabilities.  In addition to difficulties to obtain the exact financial results based on the knowledge initiatives, generated organizational capabilities are different to express in fixed units, as they are, according to Wu et al. (2010), “tightly embedded in the organizational fabric of the operations management system”.  Generated knowledge and capabilities, due to dynamic nature and interconnectivity of operational capabilities with resources and operational practices also might apply in various area and at various times. Intuitively, the organizational capabilities can also be directly related to tacit knowledge that lives in the organization, similarly as DNA or metabolic cycles in live organisms (Wu et al., 2010), which also conforms to the spiral development form.

The field evidence supported the postulated research hypotheses and framework. However, while the effect size (ES) of the study, pointing to strength of the result, has been high, the implications of the results to the industry in general might be limited, due to relatively small number of data samples. The further work on the topic might consider dedication of the more time and resources to data collection as well as AI analysis of the subordinate study texts.  Targeted AI pre-processing, that would circumvent a reliance on the subordinate study coding, should made possible to aggregate more granular information from the subordinate study content into an integrative analysis.


Novel Elements and Field Contribution

The current study proposed a structured framework that analytically expresses a process of the continuous knowledge development in organizations in a generic and semantic-free way based on:

  • Rigorous definition of the organizational knowledge development that integrates internal and external processes
  • Analytical expression of the continuous knowledge development in organizationssupported by the intuitive perception of the recursive and holographic nature of knowledge presented in the expression below
  • Semantic-free codingthat enables variable level of aggregation
  • Knowledge development measurement using relative comparisons at any level of detail

As explained by Nonaka (1994) describing and measurement of the dynamic knowledge development using the static state of organizational resources cannot be successful.  The proposed continuous knowledge development framework extends the model of the four knowledge phases of Nonaka (1994) throughout internal and external business space of the organization, and along the time

The matrix of the organizational transformations is associated to the structured sets of knowledge generation patterns by Nonaka (1994), associated with the specific capabilities or business areas.  This matrix can be redefined by the organization for any knowledge development iteration.  While the rows and columns of such identity transformation matrix can be defined arbitrarily, current work shows an application of base-4 structure at the necessary level of granularity, utilizing four semantic-free knowledge generation patterns suggested by Nonaka (1994).

The generality of the proposed knowledge subdivision pattern makes possible to cover the atomic knowledge generation practices from the arbitrary sets of business areas, as presented in Figure 10 above.  The aggregation of the atomic practices could be subsequently applied to the higher construct levels, introducing pattern where parts influence whole and vice versa, which was indicated to a holographic internal nature of information and knowledge, according to Bohm (1980) and Pribram (1999). The proposed knowledge development model had been also tested against field data to demonstrate applicability in the various knowledge domains.


Application of Findings and Recommendations

The perspective of the current research attempts to transcend both subjective and objective research perspectives, by relating the set of change factors in the field (regardless if they are positive or negative to the society) to a transformation matrix, and the identity enhancement vector that reflects core values and capabilities of the firm, in aforementioned analytical expressions of the knowledge development. 

This study analyzed the possibilities for an achievement of continual knowledge development in the organizations, which would support sustainable growth of organizational capabilities as well as the society. The application of the continuous knowledge development will support the firmer root for the organization business as well as the more reliable career path for the employees. As a basis for the sustainable growth path of the firms, that augments social stability and prosperity, a following set of recommendations has been proposed:

 Consider organizational capabilities as a part of the firm’s identity, and the knowledge development as the own identity enhancement transformations. Such approach would help the shareholders and managers to dynamically optimize the resource allocation efforts.

Integrate the field knowledge development to knowledge development strategy by positioning the external centers of expertise as a combination phase of aforementioned knowledge development cycle.

Segment the organizational knowledge development according to its maturity phase, in all domains and levels of granularity, as in the framework proposed in this work.  While the information gathering regarding specific knowledge effects is difficult to implement, the registration of the knowledge generation patterns based on its maturity phase can be automatically obtained from the existing processes, such as quality control and project management.

Measure the achieved level of organizational knowledge in a relative way, by consistent comparison to the previous internal accomplishments (either through the demonstrated capabilities or internal surveys). While a direct measurement of knowledge level using financial or similar static units is rarely possible, the relative measurements could be applied consistently.



This study proposed that continuous knowledge development presents an enhancement of the actual organizational identity, rather than a secondary resource that can be mechanically added to or subtracted from the business.  The proposed knowledge development model aspired to be both mathematically rigorous and intuitive, and was based on the recent scientific discoveries in group theory, holography and genetics. Its generic nature makes it widely applicable, differently from the majority of studies, focused on the specific business issues.

The proposed knowledge development framework had been also tested against findings from the set of the subordinate studies, however, in the scope in which the constructs of these studies can be easily mapped to four-fold knowledge development cycles.

Further research thus might consider to take into account data from the wider set of knowledge generation areas, as well as the identification of the method that would allow mapping of the information implicit in subordinate studies to the framework-proposed coding scheme.  One of the applications that can be developed on the bases of the discussed framework can provide life cycle AI analysis of various input data. Nodes can be registered in the Information system or programmatically detected more complex nodes, as information points (services, web sites, campaigns etc.) are collected in specific areas (for instance sales, user feedback, usage level etc.) Input feeds for analysis can be provided from the firm info, structured web data (such as Twitter) and IoT (Internet of Things).

The semantic-free nature of the proposed framework and AI processing would make them applicable to any level of business detail, capturing the knowledge patterns from the core elements of firm’s business strategy to the individual services and products.



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