A robust theoretical foundation is required as the basis of any information management or knowledge management initiative that is to succeed (Dalkir, 2011, p.59). 

One of the reason that KM has now established itself more credibly as both an academic discipline of study and a professional field of practice is the work that has been done on theoretical or conceptual models of knowledge management (Dalkir, 2011, p.60).

The first widely adopted KM model was the SECI model (knowledge spiral model), which described how tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge can be transformed in an organization. The knowledge spiral model has been extended, modified, and alternative KM models have been offered taking into account the complex and dynamic nature of knowledge and cultural and contextual influences. In this learning object the theoretical models that have been discussed most extensively in the knowledge management literature are presented. 

The following models will be described:

  • The Nonaka and Takeuchi Knowledge Spiral Model (1995)
  • The von Krogh and Roos Model of Organizational Epistemology (1995)
  • The Choo Sense-Making KM Model (1998)
  • The Wiig Model for Building and Using Knowledge (1993)
  • The Boisot I-Space KM Model (1998)
  • Complex Adaptive System Models of KM 
  • The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) KM Model


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